Monday, November 30, 2009


November 29, 2009
The Safety Net
Food Stamp Use Soars, and Stigma Fades

MARTINSVILLE, Ohio — With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children.

It has grown so rapidly in places so diverse that it is becoming nearly as ordinary as the groceries it buys. More than 36 million people use inconspicuous plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese, swiping them at counters in blighted cities and in suburbs pocked with foreclosure signs.

Virtually all have incomes near or below the federal poverty line, but their eclectic ranks testify to the range of people struggling with basic needs. They include single mothers and married couples, the newly jobless and the chronically poor, longtime recipients of welfare checks and workers whose reduced hours or slender wages leave pantries bare.

While the numbers have soared during the recession, the path was cleared in better times when the Bush administration led a campaign to erase the program’s stigma, calling food stamps “nutritional aid” instead of welfare, and made it easier to apply. That bipartisan effort capped an extraordinary reversal from the 1990s, when some conservatives tried to abolish the program, Congress enacted large cuts and bureaucratic hurdles chased many needy people away.

From the ailing resorts of the Florida Keys to Alaskan villages along the Bering Sea, the program is now expanding at a pace of about 20,000 people a day.

There are 239 counties in the United States where at least a quarter of the population receives food stamps, according to an analysis of local data collected by The New York Times.

The counties are as big as the Bronx and Philadelphia and as small as Owsley County in Kentucky, a patch of Appalachian distress where half of the 4,600 residents receive food stamps.

In more than 750 counties, the program helps feed one in three blacks. In more than 800 counties, it helps feed one in three children. In the Mississippi River cities of St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, half of the children or more receive food stamps. Even in Peoria, Ill. — Everytown, U.S.A. — nearly 40 percent of children receive aid.

While use is greatest where poverty runs deep, the growth has been especially swift in once-prosperous places hit by the housing bust. There are about 50 small counties and a dozen sizable ones where the rolls have doubled in the last two years. In another 205 counties, they have risen by at least two-thirds. These places with soaring rolls include populous Riverside County, Calif., most of greater Phoenix and Las Vegas, a ring of affluent Atlanta suburbs, and a 150-mile stretch of southwest Florida from Bradenton to the Everglades.

Although the program is growing at a record rate, the federal official who oversees it would like it to grow even faster.

“I think the response of the program has been tremendous,” said Kevin Concannon, an under secretary of agriculture, “but we’re mindful that there are another 15, 16 million who could benefit.”

Nationwide, food stamps reach about two-thirds of those eligible, with rates ranging from an estimated 50 percent in California to 98 percent in Missouri. Mr. Concannon urged lagging states to do more to enroll the needy, citing a recent government report that found a sharp rise in Americans with inconsistent access to adequate food.

“This is the most urgent time for our feeding programs in our lifetime, with the exception of the Depression,” he said. “It’s time for us to face up to the fact that in this country of plenty, there are hungry people.”

The program’s growing reach can be seen in a corner of southwestern Ohio where red state politics reign and blue-collar workers have often called food stamps a sign of laziness. But unemployment has soared, and food stamp use in a six-county area outside Cincinnati has risen more than 50 percent.

With most of his co-workers laid off, Greg Dawson, a third-generation electrician in rural Martinsville, considers himself lucky to still have a job. He works the night shift for a contracting firm, installing freezer lights in a chain of grocery stores. But when his overtime income vanished and his expenses went up, Mr. Dawson started skimping on meals to feed his wife and five children.

He tried to fill up on cereal and eggs. He ate a lot of Spam. Then he went to work with a grumbling stomach to shine lights on food he could not afford. When an outreach worker appeared at his son’s Head Start program, Mr. Dawson gave in.

“It’s embarrassing,” said Mr. Dawson, 29, a taciturn man with a wispy goatee who is so uneasy about the monthly benefit of $300 that he has not told his parents. “I always thought it was people trying to milk the system. But we just felt like we really needed the help right now.”

The outreach worker is a telltale sign. Like many states, Ohio has campaigned hard to raise the share of eligible people collecting benefits, which are financed entirely by the federal government and brought the state about $2.2 billion last year.

By contrast, in the federal cash welfare program, states until recently bore the entire cost of caseload growth, and nationally the rolls have stayed virtually flat. Unemployment insurance, despite rapid growth, reaches about only half the jobless (and replaces about half their income), making food stamps the only aid many people can get — the safety net’s safety net.

Support for the food stamp program reached a nadir in the mid-1990s when critics, likening the benefit to cash welfare, won significant restrictions and sought even more. But after use plunged for several years, President Bill Clinton began promoting the program, in part as a way to help the working poor. President George W. Bush expanded that effort, a strategy Mr. Obama has embraced.

The revival was crowned last year with an upbeat change of name. What most people still call food stamps is technically the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

By the time the recession began, in December 2007, “the whole message around this program had changed,” said Stacy Dean of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington group that has supported food stamp expansions. “The general pitch was, ‘This program is here to help you.’ ”

Now nearly 12 percent of Americans receive aid — 28 percent of blacks, 15 percent of Latinos and 8 percent of whites. Benefits average about $130 a month for each person in the household, but vary with shelter and child care costs.

In the promotion of the program, critics see a sleight of hand.

“Some people like to camouflage this by calling it a nutrition program, but it’s really not different from cash welfare,” said Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, whose views have a following among conservatives on Capitol Hill. “Food stamps is quasi money.”

Arguing that aid discourages work and marriage, Mr. Rector said food stamps should contain work requirements as strict as those placed on cash assistance. “The food stamp program is a fossil that repeats all the errors of the war on poverty,” he said.

Suburbs Are Hit Hard

Across the country, the food stamp rolls can be read like a scan of a sick economy. The counties of northwest Ohio, where car parts are made, take sick when Detroit falls ill. Food stamp use is up by about 60 percent in Erie County (vibration controls), 77 percent in Wood County (floor mats) and 84 percent in hard-hit Van Wert (shifting components and cooling fans).

Just west, in Indiana, Elkhart County makes the majority of the nation’s recreational vehicles. Sales have fallen more than half during the recession, and nearly 30 percent of the county’s children are receiving food stamps.

The pox in southwest Florida is the housing bust, with foreclosure rates in Fort Myers often leading the nation in the last two years. Across six contiguous counties from Manatee to Monroe, the food stamp rolls have more than doubled.

In sheer numbers, growth has come about equally from places where food stamp use was common and places where it was rare. Since 2007, the 600 counties with the highest percentage of people on the rolls added 1.3 million new recipients. So did the 600 counties where use was lowest.

The richest counties are often where aid is growing fastest, although from a small base. In 2007, Forsyth County, outside Atlanta, had the highest household income in the South. (One author dubbed it “Whitopia.”) Food stamp use there has more than doubled.

This is the first recession in which a majority of the poor in metropolitan areas live in the suburbs, giving food stamps new prominence there. Use has grown by half or more in dozens of suburban counties from Boston to Seattle, including such bulwarks of modern conservatism as California’s Orange County, where the rolls are up more than 50 percent.

While food stamp use is still the exception in places like Orange County (where 4 percent of the population get food aid), the program reaches deep in places of chronic poverty. It feeds half the people in stretches of white Appalachia, in a Yupik-speaking region of Alaska and on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Across the 10 core counties of the Mississippi Delta, 45 percent of black residents receive aid. In a city as big as St. Louis, the share is 60 percent.

Use among children is especially high. A third of the children in Louisiana, Missouri and Tennessee receive food aid. In the Bronx, the rate is 46 percent. In East Carroll Parish, La., three-quarters of the children receive food stamps.

A recent study by Mark R. Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, startled some policy makers in finding that half of Americans receive food stamps, at least briefly, by the time they turn 20. Among black children, the figure was 90 percent.

Need Overcomes Scorn

Across the small towns and rolling farmland outside Cincinnati, old disdain for the program has collided with new needs. Warren County, the second-richest in Ohio, is so averse to government aid that it turned down a federal stimulus grant. But the market for its high-end suburban homes has sagged, people who build them are idle and food stamp use has doubled.

Next door, in Clinton County, the blow has been worse. DHL, the international package carrier, has closed most of its giant airfield, costing the county its biggest employer and about 7,500 jobs. The county unemployment rate nearly tripled, to more than 14 percent.

“We’re seeing people getting food stamps who never thought they’d get them,” said Tina Osso, the director of the Shared Harvest Food Bank in Fairfield, which runs an outreach program in five area counties.

While Mr. Dawson, the electrician, has kept his job, the drive to distant work sites has doubled his gas bill, food prices rose sharply last year and his health insurance premiums have soared. His monthly expenses have risen by about $400, and the elimination of overtime has cost him $200 a month. Food stamps help fill the gap.

Like many new beneficiaries here, Mr. Dawson argues that people often abuse the program and is quick to say he is different. While some people “choose not to get married, just so they can apply for benefits,” he is a married, churchgoing man who works and owns his home. While “some people put piles of steaks in their carts,” he will not use the government’s money for luxuries like coffee or soda. “To me, that’s just morally wrong,” he said.

He has noticed crowds of midnight shoppers once a month when benefits get renewed. While policy analysts, spotting similar crowds nationwide, have called them a sign of increased hunger, he sees idleness. “Generally, if you’re up at that hour and not working, what are you into?” he said.

Still, the program has filled the Dawsons’ home with fresh fruit, vegetables, bread and meat, and something they had not fully expected — an enormous sense of relief. “I know if I run out of milk, I could run down to the gas station,” said Mr. Dawson’s wife, Sheila.

As others here tell it, that is a benefit not to be overlooked.

Sarah and Tyrone Mangold started the year on track to make $70,000 — she was selling health insurance, and he was working on a heating and air conditioning crew. She got laid off in the spring, and he a few months later. Together they had one unemployment check and a blended family of three children, including one with a neurological disorder aggravated by poor nutrition.

They ate at his mother’s house twice a week. They pawned jewelry. She scoured the food pantry. He scrounged for side jobs. Their frustration peaked one night over a can of pinto beans. Each blamed the other when that was all they had to eat.

“We were being really snippy, having anxiety attacks,” Ms. Mangold said. “People get irritable when they’re hungry.”

Food stamps now fortify the family income by $623 a month, and Mr. Mangold, who is still patching together odd jobs, no longer objects.

“I always thought people on public assistance were lazy,” he said, “but it helps me know I can feed my kids.”

Shifting Views

So far, few elected officials have objected to the program’s growth. Almost 90 percent of beneficiaries nationwide live below the poverty line (about $22,000 a year for a family of four). But a minor tempest hit Ohio’s Warren County after a woman drove to the food stamp office in a Mercedes-Benz and word spread that she owned a $300,000 home loan-free. Since Ohio ignores the value of houses and cars, she qualified.

“I’m a hard-core conservative Republican guy — I found that appalling,” said Dave Young, a member of the county board of commissioners, which briefly threatened to withdraw from the federal program.

“As soon as people figure out they can vote representatives in to give them benefits, that’s the end of democracy,” Mr. Young said. “More and more people will be taking, and fewer will be producing.”

At the same time, the recession left Sandi Bernstein more sympathetic to the needy. After years of success in the insurance business, Ms. Bernstein, 66, had just settled into what she had expected to be a comfortable retirement when the financial crisis last year sent her brokerage accounts plummeting. Feeling newly vulnerable herself, she volunteered with an outreach program run by AARP and the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Banks.

Having assumed that poor people clamored for aid, she was surprised to find that some needed convincing to apply.“I come here and I see people who are knowledgeable, normal, well-spoken, well-dressed,” she said. “These are people I could be having lunch with.”

That could describe Franny and Shawn Wardlow, whose house in nearby Oregonia conjures middle-American stability rather than the struggle to meet basic needs. Their three daughters have heads of neat blond hair, pink bedroom curtains and a turtle bought in better times on vacation in Daytona Beach, Fla. One wrote a fourth-grade story about her parents that concluded “They lived happily ever after.”

Ms. Wardlow, who worked at a nursing home, lost her job first. Soon after, Mr. Wardlow was laid off from the construction job he had held for nearly nine years. As Ms. Wardlow tells the story of the subsequent fall — cutoff threats from the power company, the dinners of egg noodles, the soap from the Salvation Army — she dwells on one unlikely symbol of the security she lost.

Pot roast.

“I was raised on eating pot roast,” she said. “Just a nice decent meal.”

Mr. Wardlow, 32, is a strapping man with a friendly air. He talked his way into a job at an envelope factory although his boss said he was overqualified. But it pays less than what he made muscling a jackhammer, and with Ms. Wardlow still jobless, they are two months behind on the rent. A monthly food stamp benefit of $429 fills the shelves and puts an occasional roast on the Sunday table.

It reminds Ms. Wardlow of what she has lost, and what she hopes to regain.

“I would consider us middle class at one time,” she said. “I like to have a nice decent meal for dinner.”

Matthew Ericson and Janet Roberts contributed reporting.


November 29, 2009
Afghans Detail Detention in ‘Black Jail’ at U.S. Base

KABUL, Afghanistan — An American military detention camp in Afghanistan is still holding inmates, sometimes for weeks at a time, without access to the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to human rights researchers and former detainees held at the site on the Bagram Air Base.

The site, known to detainees as the black jail, consists of individual windowless concrete cells, each illuminated by a single light bulb glowing 24 hours a day. In interviews, former detainees said that their only human contact was at twice-daily interrogation sessions.

“The black jail was the most dangerous and fearful place,” said Hamidullah, a spare-parts dealer in Kandahar who said he was detained there in June. “They don’t let the I.C.R.C. officials or any other civilians see or communicate with the people they keep there. Because I did not know what time it was, I did not know when to pray.”

The jail’s operation highlights a tension between President Obama’s goal to improve detention conditions that had drawn condemnation under the Bush administration and his stated desire to give military commanders leeway to operate. While Mr. Obama signed an order to eliminate so-called black sites run by the Central Intelligence Agency in January, it did not also close this jail, which is run by military Special Operations forces.

Military officials said as recently as this summer that the Afghanistan jail and another like it at the Balad Air Base in Iraq were being used to interrogate high-value detainees. And officials said recently that there were no plans to close the jails.

In August, the administration restricted the time that detainees could be held at the military jails to two weeks, changing previous Pentagon policy. In the past, the military could obtain extensions.

The interviewed detainees had been held longer, but before the new policy went into effect. Mr. Hamidullah, who, like some Afghans, uses only one name, was released in October after five and half months in detention, five to six weeks of it in the black jail, he said.

Although his and other detainees’ accounts could not be independently corroborated, each was interviewed separately and described similar conditions. Their descriptions also matched those obtained by two human rights workers who had interviewed other former detainees at the site.

While two of the detainees were captured before the Obama administration took office, one was captured in June of this year.

All three detainees were later released without charges. None said they had been tortured, though they said they heard sounds of abuse going on and certainly felt humiliated and roughly used. “They beat up other people in the black jail, but not me,” Hamidullah said. “But the problem was that they didn’t let me sleep. There was shouting noise so you couldn’t sleep."

Others, however, have given accounts of abuse at the site, including two Afghan teenagers who told The Washington Post that they had been subjected to beatings and humiliation by American guards.

A Defense Department spokesman, Bryan Whitman, said Saturday that the military routinely sought to verify allegations of detainee abuse, and that it was looking into whether the two Afghan teenagers who spoke to The Post had been detained.

Without commenting specifically on the site at Bagram, which is still considered classified, Mr. Whitman said that the Pentagon’s policy required that all detainees in American custody in Afghanistan be treated humanely and according to United States and international law.

All three former detainees interviewed by The New York Times complained of being held for months after the intensive interrogations were over without being told why. One detainee said he remained at the Bagram prison complex for two years and four months; another was held for 10 months total.

Human rights officials said the existence of a jail where prisoners were denied contact with the Red Cross or their families contradicted the Obama administration’s drive to improve detention conditions.

“Holding people in what appears to be incommunicado detention runs against the grain of the administration’s commitment to greater transparency, accountability, and respect for the dignity of Afghans,” said Jonathan Horowitz, a human rights researcher with the Open Society Institute.

Mr. Horowitz said he understood that “the necessities of war requires the U.S. to detain people, but there are limits to how to detain.”

The black jail is separate from the larger Bagram detention center, which now holds about 700 detainees, mostly in cages accommodating about 20 men apiece, and which had become notorious to the Afghan public as a symbol of abuse. That center will be closed by early next year and the detainees moved to a new larger detention site as part of the administration’s effort to improve conditions at Bagram.

The former detainees interviewed by The Times said they were held at the site for 35 to 40 days. All three were sent there upon arriving at Bagram and eventually transferred to the larger detention center on the base, which allows access to the Red Cross. The three were hooded and handcuffed when they were taken for questioning at the black jail so they did not know where they were or anything about other detainees, they said.

Mr. Horowitz said he had heard similar descriptions of the jail from former detainees, as had Sahr MuhammedAlly, a lawyer with Human Rights First, a nonprofit organization that has tracked detention issues in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The International Committee of the Red Cross does not discuss its findings publicly and would not say whether its officials had visited the black jail. But, in early 2008, military officials acknowledged receiving a confidential complaint from the I.C.R.C. that the military was holding some detainees incommunicado.

In August, the military said that it had begun to give the Red Cross the names of everyone detained, including those held in the Special Operations camps, within two weeks of capture. But it still does not allow the group face-to-face access to the detainees.

All three detainees said the hardest part of their detention was that their families did not know whether they were alive.

“For my whole family it was disastrous,” said Hayatullah, a Kandahar resident who said he was working in his pharmacy when he was arrested. “Because they knew the Americans were sometimes killing people, and they thought they had killed me because for two to three months they didn’t know where I was.”

The three detainees said the military had mistaken them for Taliban fighters.

“They kept saying to me, ‘Are you Qari Idris?’ ” said Gulham Khan, 25, an impoverished, illiterate sheep trader, who mostly delivers sheep and goats for people who buy the animals in the livestock market in Ghazni, the capital of the province of the same name. He was captured in late October 2008 and released in early September this year, he said.

“I said, ‘I’m not Qari Idris.’ But they kept asking me over and over, and I kept saying, ‘I’m Gulham. This is my name, that is my father’s name, you can ask the elders.’ ”

Ten months after his initial detention, American soldiers went to the group cell where he was then being held and told him he had been mistakenly picked up under the wrong name, he said.

“They said, ‘Please accept our apology, and we are sorry that we kept you here for this time.’ And that was it. They kept me for more than 10 months and gave me nothing back.”

In their search for him, Mr. Khan’s family members spent the equivalent of $6,000, a fortune for a sheep dealer, who often makes just a dollar a day. Some of the money was spent on bribes to local Afghan soldiers to get information on where he was being held; they said soldiers took the money and never came back with the information.

In Mr. Hamidullah’s case, interrogators at the black jail insisted that he was a Taliban fighter named Faida Muhammad. “I said, ‘That’s not me,’ ” he recalled.

“They blamed me and said, ‘You are making bombs and are a facilitator of bomb making and helping militants,’ ” he said. “I said, ‘I have a shop. I sell spare parts for vehicles, for trucks and cars.’ ”

Human rights researchers say they worry that the jail remains in the shadows and largely inaccessible both to the Red Cross and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, which has responsibility for ensuring humane treatment of detainees under the Afghan Constitution. Manfred Nowak, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture, said that the site fell into something of a legal limbo but that the Red Cross should still have access to all detainees.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Top of the Ticket
Politics and commentary, coast to coast, from the Los Angeles Times
Oh-oh! Politicians share personality traits with serial killers: Study
June 15, 2009 | 5:58 am
Using his law enforcement experience and data drawn from the FBI's behavioral analysis unit, Jim Kouri has collected a series of personality traits common to a couple of professions.
Prison Walls
Kouri, who's a vice president of the National Assn. of Chiefs of Police, has assembled traits such as superficial charm, an exaggerated sense of self-worth, glibness, lying, lack of remorse and manipulation of others.
These traits, Kouri points out in his analysis, are common to psychopathic serial killers.
But -- and here's the part that may spark some controversy and defensive discussion -- these traits are also common to American politicians. (Maybe you already suspected.)
Yup. Violent homicide aside, our elected officials often show many of the exact same character traits as criminal nut-jobs, who run from police but not for office.
Kouri notes that these criminals are psychologically capable of committing their dirty deeds free of any concern for social, moral or legal consequences and with absolutely no remorse.
"This allCapitol Hill Domeows them to do what they want, whenever they want," he wrote. "Ironically, these same traits exist in men and women who are drawn to high-profile and powerful positions in society including political officeholders."
Good grief! And we not only voted for these people, we're paying their salaries and entrusting them to spend our national treasure in wise ways.
We don't know Kouri that well. He may be trying to manipulate all of us with his glib provocative pronouncements. On the other hand ...
He adds:
"While many political leaders will deny the assessment regarding their similarities with serial killers and other career criminals, it is part of a psychopathic profile that may be used in assessing the behaviors of many officials and lawmakers at all levels of government."
-- Andrew Malcolm

Amy Goodman - Journalist Detained in Canada

While traveling to Vancouver, BC, Canada on Weds., Nov. 25th, to speak at the Vancouver Public Library at a benefit for community radio stations, Amy Goodman and her two colleagues were detained by Canadian authorities. Amy was questioned extensively about the speech she intended to give; their car was gone through by armed border guards, and their papers and laptop computers were scoured. They were detained for well over an hour, and were made an hour late for the event at the Vancouver Public Library.


Electric shock therapy being used on troubled Victorian teenagers

Shock therapy

A boy receives electric shock treatment. Picture: AP Source: Herald Sun

ELECTRIC shock therapy is being used on deeply troubled Victorian teenagers in a last-ditch bid to cure their mental illness.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information legislation reveal that eight juveniles and a further 107 young adults were given controversial electro-convulsive treatment in 2007-08.

The therapy has split the medical community, with some experts claiming it could harm children.

The revelations have put more pressure on Community Services Minister Lisa Neville, who is facing repeated calls for her resignation amid a continuing crisis in the state's child protection system.

She insists the use of electric shocks to the brains of children was heavily regulated.

Victoria's Chief Psychiatrist, Dr Ruth Vine, said: "The very few adolescents treated with ECT have severe mental illness that has not responded to other treatments - or need very urgent intervention for severe depression or acute psychosis."

But Associate Prof Dr Nick Tonti-Filippini, of the health ethics committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council, said: "I regard the use of ECT on children as experimental. I'm concerned about the lack of evidence that it is safe."

Department of Human Services documents obtained by the Herald Sun show 1815 mentally ill Victorians were treated with Electro-Convulsive Therapy in 2007-2008.

Eight of those were under 18, each treated an average of more than four times.

A further 107 aged 18 to 24 also underwent the treatment. And more than 270 Victorians over the age of 75 also received ECT.

The treatment is used only on severely ill patients and is heavily regulated by the Department of Human Services.

Patients sometimes suffer memory loss and confusion, and, in extreme cases, amnesia.

Dr Tonti-Filippini said: "Parents are not informed about the lack of safety evidence before they agree to let children undergo the treatment. I would like to see its use reviewed by a human research ethics committee."

Shadow health minister Mary Wooldridge said the use of ECT was "disturbing".

Friday, November 27, 2009


Interesting Alex Jones documentary on the climate change. Watch and spread around, this needs to go VIRAL!!


Egads! Confidential 9/11 Pager Messages Disclosed

As the World Trade Center and Pentagon were ablaze on September 11, 2001, the U.S. Secret Service's presidential protective detail was informed that a "Korean airliner has been hijacked" en route to San Francisco, prompting already-skittish agents to worry about another wave of terrorist attacks.

That morning and afternoon, Secret Service agents assigned to protect the president and his family found their pagers constantly buzzing with alerts both true and false. There was a false alarm about a car bomb in downtown Washington, D.C., a report of "two Arab males detained" after asking for directions to the presidential retreat at Camp David, and reassurances that "Twinkle and Turq" -- code names for the Bush daughters -- were safe and accounted for.

This unusual glimpse into the events of 9/11 comes from messages sent to alphanumeric pagers that were anonymously published on the Internet on Wednesday. The pager transcripts, which total about 573,000 lines and 6.4 million words, include numeric and text messages also sent to private sector and unclassified military pagers.

It's impossible to tell whether the logs have been faithfully reproduced in their entirety. But there's evidence they have been: I spoke to three journalists working on September 11, 2001 whose correspondence appeared in the logs or who were familiar with the messages circulated in their newsrooms that day. All three say the logs appear to be legitimate.

This trove of messages is likely to become a boon for historians, a new source of concern for privacy advocates, and, depending on the details, a point of embarrassment or pride for the government agencies and corporations whose internal conversations have been divulged. The files were posted on WikiLeaks.org, which has made a speciality of disclosing confidential documents and boasts that it is "uncensorable."

One string of messages hints at how federal agencies scrambled to evacuate to Mount Weather, the government's sort-of secret bunker buried under the Virginia mountains west of Washington, D.C. One message says, "Jim: DEPLOY TO MT. WEATHER NOW!," and another says "CALL OFICE (sic) AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. 4145 URGENT." That's the phone number for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Continuity Programs Directorate -- which is charged with "the preservation of our constitutional form of government at all times," even during a nuclear war. (A 2006 article in the U.K. Guardian newspaper mentioned a "a traffic jam of limos carrying Washington and government license plates" heading to Mount Weather that day.)

FEMA's response seemed less than organized. One message at 12:37 p.m., four hours after the attacks, says: "We have no mission statements yet." Bill Prusch, FEMA's project officer for the National Emergency Management Information System at the time, apparently announced at 2 p.m. that the Continuity of Operations plan was activated and that certain employees should report to Mt. Weather; a few minutes later he sent out another note saying the activation was cancelled.

The first pager message reporting the attacks on the World Trade Center appears to have been sent by Morgan Stanley at 8:50 a.m. ET, saying that "an Aloha call is starting" due to a fire in the complex's south tower. Morgan Stanley leased 840,000 square feet in that building, on over 20 floors.

As the fires spread, and as police and firefighters rushed to the scene, Wall Street firms activated their emergency response plans. Shortly after 9 a.m., Fidelity evacuated its nearby offices at 200 Liberty Street, and sent out a messaging saying: "Those in the area should meet at the Winter Garden. Our plan is to meet there and (have most employees) work from home." (The Winter Garden is a glass-enclosed atrium that was damaged later in the day when the towers collapsed.)

"On that particular day, literally within minutes of the first attack, we already had one of our security people... lining up space outside the New York area for some of our employees," Anne Crowley, a spokeswoman for Fidelity who was with the company in September 2001, told CBSNews.com in a telephone interview.

By 10:29 a.m., Fidelity's Boston offices on Summer St. had been closed, and an alert went out: "National Master Console has been re-routed to Merrimack." It was followed by: "The FBSI war room is operational," referring to Fidelity Brokerage Services Inc.

"That quick thinking led us to be able to move hundreds of New York employees to backup locations (and) enabled us to continue to operate some of our important functions," Crowley said. Even with U.S. equity markets closed, Fidelity's phone centers continued to take orders and could even process some international ones. Crowley said she didn't know what Fidelity's war room referred to, but said the National Master Console is the firm's main phone operation that was shifted to Merrimack, N.H.

Similarly, Bank of America ordered the evacuation of all bank "high rise buildings only," while noting that there is a "nation-wide run on cash." Mastercard evacuated its new York and Delaware offices; MBNA decided to shutter everything but inbound call centers. Another message says: "SITUATION LOCK DOWN ALL AT&T LOCATIONS HAVE BEEN EVACUATED."

How the messages were captured

The pager logs seem to represent messages transmitted on September 11, 2001 through the networks of Arch Wireless, Metrocall, Skytel, and Weblink Wireless.

It's not clear how they were obtained in the first place. One possibility is that they were illegally compiled from the records of archived messages maintained by pager companies, and then eventually forwarded to WikiLeaks.

The second possibility is more likely: Over-the-air interception. Each digital pager is assigned a unique Channel Access Protocol code, or capcode, that tells it to pay attention to what immediately follows. In what amounts to a gentlemen's agreement, no encryption is used, and properly-designed pagers politely ignore what's not addressed to them.

But an electronic snoop lacking that same sense of etiquette might hook up a sufficiently sophisticated scanner to a Windows computer with lots of disk space -- and record, without much effort, gobs and gobs of over-the-air conversations.

Existing products do precisely this. Australia's WiPath Communications offers Interceptor 3.0 (there's even a free download). Maryland-based SWS Security Products sells something called a "Beeper Buster" that it says let police "watch up to 2500 targets at the same time." And if you're frugal, there's a video showing you how to take a $10 pager and modify it to capture everything on that network.

Law enforcement agencies knew of the benefits of monitoring pagers long ago. A 1997 FBI bulletin describes the "use of a clone pager to simultaneously receive the transmission emitted from the pager's service provider to the pager," and the federal courts have a standard form for judges to use when approving interceptions. (The American Association of Paging Carriers has, helpfully, provided its members with a list of how to comply.)

Whatever their origin, the logs are likely to raise more questions than they answer. Take this intriguing message that was sent by Jim Massa, then Cisco's director of federal operations, at 4:18 p.m. It said: "NEED TO DISCUSS FBI TEN THOUSAND UNIT REQUIREMENT ASAP." The recipient appears to be Cisco Chief Development Officer Charlie Giancarlo, who left the company in 2007 and now works at a venture capital firm in Menlo Park, Calif. called Silver Lake.

A Cisco representative said in e-mail to CBSNews.com: "I know we worked closely with law enforcement after the attacks but I don't have any specifics." Massa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One possibility is that the FBI urgently needed routers or other Cisco gear to upgrade its own network. But technical experts that CBSNews.com contacted believed it's more likely that the FBI was working with Internet service providers to reconfigure their networks with Cisco hardware to allow wiretaps to be conducted more readily. Around that time, Cisco was beginning to develop wiretap capabilities for its routers -- a concept that eventually became known as "lawful intercept."

The logs are silent on precisely that point. They do show, however, how U.S. network providers scrambled to respond to one of the most unexpected and extensive disruptions in recent memory.

After 7 World Trade Center collapsed (it had been damaged by debris earlier), Sprint lost its payment-processing system called SpeedPay. A subsequent note said: "SpeedPay is down. Site lost power with further collapse of building around 5PM. They are mobilizing to relocate equipment to New Jersey site." A Sprint spokeswoman said that the executives who were with the company on 9/11 are on holiday break and unavailable for comment.

The major telecommunications hub at 60 Hudson Street, about eight blocks from the World Trade Center, was evacuated around 9:20 a.m. About four hours later, it was starting to show signs of overheating, with temperatures reaching the 80s. A WorldCom message worried that New York City might cut power to 60 Hudson, saying, "NYC1 has 4 to 8 hours of battery power if main power was to be cut." A relieved followup said that the company's network operations center had learned that the power would remain on.

Air Force One reportedly threatened

Other tidbits from the logs include:
* A Secret Service page at 10:32 a.m. warned: "ANONYMOUS CALL TO JOC REPORTING ANGEL IS TARGET." Angel is the Secret Service codeword for Air Force One; JOC means Joint Operations Center. When the president's plane had departed Florida about half an hour earlier, it was en route to D.C. That anonymous threat seems to be what diverted President Bush on a high-speed flight across the country, first to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, and then to an underground command center in Nebraska.

* Amidst the confusion that day, the Secret Service's New York field office gave contradictory instructions to agents. At 9:06 a.m., their pagers lit up with these orders: "MEET AT THE BASEBALL FIELD BEHIND THE EMBASSY SUITES HOTEL ON WEST STREET NY." Ninety minutes later: "ALL NEW YORK FIELD OFFICE PERSONNEL RESPOND TO STUYVESANT HIGH SCHOOL AT THE CORNER OF CHAMBERS AND WEST STREET ASAP." Later: "ALL NYFO PERSONNEL ARE TO DISREGARD THE LAST PAGE REGARDING STUVYSANT HIGH SCHOOL."

* One message said: "#2 MCLL EXEC WAS ABOARD ONE OF THE PLANES. 1 OF THE ONES WHO BETRAYED HARRY. NO TEARS HERE." Metrocall founder Harry Brock had been ousted as president six years earlier. Metrocall chief operating officer Steven Jacoby died on Flight 77 that day.

* Brinks, the armored car operator, received a series of requests for immediate deliveries from banks running low on cash after Americans rushed to withdraw currency: "Micheal, branch officer, is requesting a same day cash delivery. His branch is low on cash. The charge will be $50.00. Please respond to confirm."

* A press aide for then-California governor Gray Davis spent the day fending off requests for interviews and updates from KABC, the Oakland Tribune, the Long Beach Press-Telegram, the National Guard, KTTV, Fox News, and someone who wanted to know, "Are the schools going to be closed for the rest of the week?"
What's unclear is what the impact of the release of the 9/11 data will be. Nothing immediately apparent in the 573,000-or-so lines of text suggests a rethinking of how we view the events of that day (although conspiracy fanciers are sure to highlight excerpts such as the message suggesting "military planes" forced down a commercial jet, and one saying there was an "explosion and fire at Pentagon").

We've seen something like this before. A few years ago, AOL published the mostly-anonymized search histories of over 650,000 of its users, which gave rise to the kind of data excavation that's currently taking place in connection with the disclosure of the 9/11 pager traffic. In the last few days, the same kind of collective analysis of thousands of files has accompanied the leaked global warming e-mail messages.

This should be a lesson to anyone who would prefer their personal details not go on public display: Without end-to-end encryption, and perhaps even with it, your correspondence is vulnerable to interception and publication. And if you're the Secret Service responding to threats against the president, or FEMA organizing an evacuation to an underground bunker, why are you letting anyone with a $10 pager and a Windows laptop watch what you're doing?

Update 11:45 a.m. ET: Alert CBSNews.com Reader Ryan R. points out that the first automated alert relating to the attacks may have come from (see this file) Cantor Fitzgerald, which had offices in One World Trade Center. The alert is timestamped 8:46 a.m. and says: "Market data inconsistent...Cantor API problem Trading system offline"

Update 11:47 a.m. ET: FEMA spokesman Clark Stevens says "FEMA has no comment." No word yet from the Secret Service.

Update 1:39 p.m. ET: Alert CBSNews.com Reader Bernie S. reminds me of the 1997 interception of pager messages from President Clinton's entourage, including messages from Hillary and Chelsea and love letters exchanged between aides. Here's a summary from Harper's, and a longer writeup from Peter Neumann's always-useful Risks Digest.

Update 3:04 p.m. ET: It didn't take long for the fake 9/11 "Zionist pager intercepts" to appear. Another fake: "WTC south tower will collapse in 1 minute." On an unrelated note, WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange previewed the files at a conference in Copenhagen last week; see 55:30 into the video. And I would be remiss not to mention the remarkable 911stories.net site, which is displaying animated highlights.

Declan McCullagh is a correspondent for CBSNews.com. He can be reached at declan@cbsnews.com and can be followed on Twitter as declanm. You can bookmark Declan's Taking Liberties site here, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

by Joutue November 26, 2009 6:41 PM EST
joutue November 26, 2009 5:30 PM

Everyone knows that that Bush and chaney created the disaster of 9/11.
The area was blocked off for several weeks, so the demolition could be set-up to bring the towers on down, after the drones planes hit
the towers.
Chaney was out playing wars games with the drone planes and had them directed into the towers and the pentagon. And he also had the air-waves blocked off, so the airport couldn't hear what was being said
it all was taking place.
And Goofy Bush set up him a good a excuse at the school reading to kids,but didn't get up right away and leave the school after being told about it. He knew it was going to happen. Sad , so sad for a
lot of families and for the people viewing it on tv.
Reply to this comment

by Vet_Turner November 26, 2009 8:59 AM EST
And Bush sat in a chair for another 17 minutes and read. "My little pet goat."
Reply to this comment

by dragon8me November 26, 2009 7:31 AM EST
CNN this morning has a story about the cencus worker that was killed and cops said it was suicide. No way could he duct tape himself. They are covering for some powerful people. Why dosn't CBS cover it?
Reply to this comment

by nokia3210c November 26, 2009 7:28 AM EST
Reply to this comment

by takita787 November 26, 2009 1:22 AM EST

You can search all 500,000+ pages here. this is insane
Reply to this comment

by mljohns00 November 26, 2009 12:17 AM EST
I'm re-watching the video of G.W. Bush continuing to watch school children reading after being told that airplanes have crashed into both WTC buildings. Please tell me that he wasn't really elected twice to the Presidency.
Reply to this comment

by bankersvox November 26, 2009 3:56 AM EST
This is insulting. Are you upset that our current President, gave a "shout out" to some guy in the audience before he responded to the attack at Fort Hood, or that he cant explain how this happened ?

by aintfakin November 25, 2009 11:41 PM EST
no word on anything that brave stud cheney may have said.
hard to talk when you are cowering under your bed in a bunker at an undisclosed location.
Reply to this comment

by jokethis November 25, 2009 9:30 PM EST
read carefully, absorb entirely. watch "fall of the republic"
Reply to this comment

by ynot-tony November 25, 2009 7:06 PM EST
davemartin12345, you win the award for the most pointless comment.

Do you let Huffington Compost do all the thinking for you?

Nice to see how you neo-comms jump all over a press secretary for an obvious mis-speak, yet give a pass to a sitting President who constantly and willfully lies.
Reply to this comment

by 6591Hou November 25, 2009 6:51 PM EST
If any of the purloined transcripts supported any shred of evidence of government complicity in 9/11 it would have been trumpeted from the headline and center stage in the article - but no, it's not - why? because it isn't there, never happened...but logic and facts never seem to bother the whisper conspiracists, the wink-wink-nod-nod people who know the 'real truth'....stringing unrelated and ludicrous implausibilities together because of paranoid anti-government delusion only makes a case for your doctor to give you more medication.
Reply to this comment

by davemartin12345 November 25, 2009 5:48 PM EST
Dana Perino said on Faux News/GOP TV, "We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term."

So it must be true.

Reply to this comment

by EdmondDantes November 25, 2009 5:04 PM EST
Encrypt, encrypt, encrypt!

If not possible, lie and deceive. Use fake a SSN when dealing with people that have no business asking for it.
Reply to this comment

by sean70x November 25, 2009 3:09 PM EST
The OPEC baboons made alot of money on this war. Their high price for a barrel of oil proves that the cartel was involved in the 9/11 disaster. George W. Bush knew to be in the right place, at the right time. He forced this country to war and inflicted spiraling inflation due to skyrocketing fuel prices.
Reply to this comment

by V-4-Vendetta November 25, 2009 2:58 PM EST
Here are the original 911-leaked text files.
You can download and read them HERE:

Reply to this comment

by mebesuzieq November 25, 2009 2:54 PM EST
Do you people not understand the magnitude of this? Read thru these messages and you'll discover 9/11 was NOT A SURPRISE. They have government text messages from 911 that prove.. to the minute... that this was all staged. They've been caught knowing hours before impact and to the minute of the demolitions in these texts. This is huge!
Reply to this comment

by drthvader November 25, 2009 4:53 PM EST
So you are all 911 "troofers" over here?

by zmqznczspu November 25, 2009 2:50 PM EST
Reading about this still makes me sick, after all this time. These were meant to be private messages; don't people have any decency, or respect for privacy, at all?

On a different note, I'm very curious to see what the 9/11 conspiracy freaks say about this.
Reply to this comment

by mebesuzieq November 25, 2009 3:16 PM EST
We're not "freaks". Those of you who continue to sleep after this are the true freaks.

by drthvader November 25, 2009 4:54 PM EST
Hey read it for yourself!

by nowhiningallowed November 25, 2009 2:45 PM EST
I was airborne when the attacks happened and never made it to my destination, which would later prove to be the end of my new company I had just started. I'm reminded of the horror of this day not because of how it impacted me, but the senseless loss of innocent lives and ruined lives of the survivors. As we reflect on this Thanksgiving, we should all be mindful of the many blessings we have, especially the gift of living in America. God bless all of you.
Reply to this comment

by bankersvox November 26, 2009 3:55 AM EST
That is correct.

Maybe I am old fashion, but I have respect...I don't like the whole tone of "EGAD" on this story about the chaos and loss of 9 11. Do you ?

by dronemonk November 25, 2009 2:35 PM EST
You worship secrecy in much the same manner as old school Soviet apparatchiks. For shame. You lost your way, and doubled your efforts.
Reply to this comment

by Virgil-1 November 25, 2009 12:34 PM EST
Reply to this comment

by babooph November 25, 2009 11:58 AM EST
With a cowardly White House -chicken little clearly over reacted & then did as he was told-what a leader-no sensible college frat would follow him to a free brothel.
Reply to this comment

by declanm-2009 November 25, 2009 1:29 PM EST
It does seem odd that the president would head across the country just because of an "ANONYMOUS CALL TO JOC REPORTING ANGEL IS TARGET." But there may be more to the story than has been made public; I linked to a CBS News report from a few years ago with some details. --Declan


9/11 re-enacted: Wikileaks publishes September 11 pager messages

Whistleblowing website publishes 'intercepted' texts in order officials and witnesses sent them

A firefighter at the site of the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11 2001

The Wikileaks website is publishing pager messages sent on the day by 9/11 witnesses. Photograph: Graham Morrison/AP

The unfolding secret story of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon is being told today when more than 500,000 intercepted pager messages, many from US officials, are published online in the order in which they were sent.

The mass live leak began at 8am GMT and will continue for 24 hours until all of the messages are seen as they were sent on September 11.

The experiment by whistleblowing website Wikileaks includes pager messages sent on the day by officials in the Pentagon, the New York police and witnesses to the collapse of the twin towers.

Wikileaks said the messages would show a "completely objective record of the defining moment of our time".

It added: "We hope that its entry into the historical record will lead to a more nuanced understanding of how this tragedy and its aftermath may have been prevented."

The post said the release of the messages at times corresponding to when they were sent would help "foster a deeper understanding".

A preview of some of the messages to be leaked suggests they show how panic and rumour began to spread on the day, and are likely to fuel conspiracy theories about the attacks.

One message from a New York City official sent just minutes after the first attack said: "WTC has been hit by an airplane and a bomb." Another says: "It's reported that a US military helicopter circled the building then crashed into or next to the Pentagon." Later in the day, a message presciently says: "We are bombing Afghanistan."

One message from a witness reads: "Still in my apt, nowhere to go ... This is the end of the world as we know it."

Wikileaks would not reveal the source for the leak, but hinted: "It is clear that the information comes from an organisation which has been intercepting and archiving US national telecommunciations since prior to 9/11.

Wikileaks has a good track record in releasing authentic official documents, but its website tends to get overloaded at busy times. It is encouraging readers to follow the leaks on Twitter.


SPECIAL REPORT by Tetractys Merkaba, Editor-in-Chief.

Important web page, Wikileaks, has published a complete set of pager texts revealing what the Pentagon, N.Y.P.D, F.E.M.A, and the F.B.I -amongst others- were talking to each other about, before, during, and, after, the attacks on 9/11.

The texts, totalling five hundred thousand offer a fascinating insight to the day itself and the consequential question of, exactly who is to blame for these horrendous attacks.



Saturday, November 21, 2009


Report by Tetractys Merkaba Editor-in-Chief

This is a copy of a newspaper report from the New York Times that flashes across the screen during the important Alex Jones documentary Fall of the Republic.

Watch Fall of the Republic on the mikiverse.

This illustrates and confirms the fact that, firstly, the Jones documentary uses researched and verifiable facts in his documentaries, and, secondly, that there are politician's that are looking to violate the principles of 'innocent until proven guilty' by getting people to spy on their fellow beings. This is similar to the thought police in George Orwell's 1984, or, the actions of people in Communist nations during the Cold War. If we are not careful, we shall be hearing the slogan; "Four Legs Good, Two Legs, Better".

Opinions of all kind are encouraged. The Mikiverse shall endeavour to keep verifying articles that flash over our screens in documentaries for your enjoyment and perusal.

May 18, 2008

As Prices Rise, Crime Tipsters Work Overtime

To gas prices, foreclosure rates and the cost of rice, add this rising economic indicator: the number of tips to the police from people hoping to collect reward money.

Calls to the Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers hot line in the first quarter of this year were up 30 percent over last year. San Antonio had a 44 percent increase. Cities and towns from Detroit to Omaha to Beaufort County, N.C., all report increases of 25 percent or more in the first quarter, with tipsters telling operators they need the money for rent, light bills or baby formula.

“For this year, everyone that’s called has pretty much been just looking for money,” said Sgt. Lawrence Beller, who answers Crime Stoppers calls at the Sussex County, N.J., sheriff’s office. “That’s as opposed to the last couple of years, where some people were just sick of the crime and wanting to do something about it.”

As a result, many programs report a substantial increase in Crime Stopper-related arrests and recovered property, as callers turn in neighbors, grandchildren or former boyfriends in exchange for a little cash.

On Friday, a woman called the Regional Crime Stoppers line in Macon, Ga., to find out when she could pick up her reward money for a recent tip. She was irritated to learn that she would have to wait until Monday.

“I’m in a bind, I’m really in a bind,” she told the hot-line operator. “There’s a lot of stuff I know, but I didn’t open my mouth. If I weren’t in a bind, I wouldn’t open my mouth.”

When she learned the money was not available, she said she would call back with the whereabouts of another suspect whom she had just seen “going down the road.”

Elaine Cloyd, the president of Crime Stoppers U.S.A., a national organization of local tip programs, said that not all of the 323 programs in the country had reported an increase in calls, and that some, like those in Lafayette, La., and Broward County, Fla., attributed most of their spike to increased publicity or technological improvements like accepting tips by text message. But there was no doubt, Ms. Cloyd said, that the faltering economy was a significant factor.

“When the economy gets rough, people have to be creative,” she said. “They might give a tip where they wouldn’t have in the past.”

For tips that bring results, programs in most places pay $50 to $1,000, with some jurisdictions giving bonuses for help solving the most serious crimes, or an extra “gun bounty” if a weapon is recovered. In Sussex County, the average payment for a tip that results in an arrest is $400, Sergeant Beller said.

“Usually you deliver the money in an unmarked car and meet them somewhere,” he said. “But these people come right to the office and walk right through the front door.”

Some Crime Stoppers coordinators say their program appeals to community spirit and emphasize that not everyone who calls is after money. But their advertising makes no bones about the benefits of a good tip.

“Crime doesn’t pay but we do,” say the mobile billboards cruising Jacksonville, Fla. A poster in Jackson, Tenn., draws a neat equation: “Ring Ring + Bling Bling = Cha-Ching.” The bling, in this case, is a pair of handcuffs.

Some coordinators suggest that rising crime rates might be driving up the number of tips. But in Jackson, Tenn., Sgt. Mike Johnson said his call volume had gone from two or three a day to eight or nine. He theorized that rising crime there was not a factor because the program advertises steadily regardless of trends. “People just need money,” Sergeant Johnson said.

Sergeant Johnson has been a Crime Stoppers coordinator for 15 years, watching crime rates and tips fluctuate. But, he said, “I’ve never seen an increase like it is now.”

Crime Stoppers programs strictly protect the anonymity of callers. Each tip is assigned a number, and if the tip results in an arrest, the caller can collect a cash reward, usually by going to a designated bank. Some programs pay tipsters within hours of an arrest; others have monthly meetings to approve reward amounts.

Not only have the number of tips increased, several program coordinators said, but people are also more diligent about calling back to find out if and when they can collect.

Jim Cogan, director of the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers program in California, said most of the rewards offered by his program used to go unclaimed. But with large numbers of foreclosures and heavy job losses, Mr. Cogan said, “now we’re seeing rewards get picked up right away and our tipsters being frustrated when tips aren’t available as quickly as they need the money.”

Karen Keen, the tips coordinator for First Coast Crime Stoppers in Jacksonville, said she had, on occasion, been given approval to pay tipsters early, if they persuaded her that they needed the money to pay a light bill or some other necessity.

Some people have made a cottage industry of calling in tips. Although repeat callers do not give their names, operators recognize their voices.

“We have people out there that, realistically, this could be their job,” said Sgt. Zachary Self, who answers Crime Stoppers calls for the Macon Police Department.

“Two or three arrests per week, you could make $700, $750 per week,” Sergeant Self said. “You could make better than a minimum-wage job.”

He said that his program typically averaged 215 arrests per year, but that this year it had already hit 100, and he projected it would make more than 300, a record, by year’s end.

In some cases, the quality of the tips is lagging as people grasp for any shred of information that might result in an arrest. A woman in Macon, for example, recently called to report that a family member — who was wanted for burglary and whose name and address were already known to the police — was at home. His home.

Such a tip might seem worthless on its face, said Jean Davis, who took the call. But many police departments do not have the personnel to watch a suspect’s comings and going. In that case, the young man was arrested.

Typically, the greatest number of calls comes in response to news coverage of a specific crime or a weekly list of wanted suspects. At other times, people call to report a crime the police might not even be aware of. Or, they might just call to report the whereabouts of someone with an old warrant. Warrant tips for minor crimes generate the lowest rewards, but that has not stopped people from turning in suspects.

“We’re getting a lot more calls related to wanted persons,” said Sgt. Tommi Bridgeman, who coordinates the Beaufort County Crime Stoppers program. “People who know that these people have warrants out for their arrest are calling to turn them in.”

Sergeant Bridgeman said her calls were up 25 percent even though the program’s one advertisement, a patrol car emblazoned with the hot-line number, was out of commission.

“Folks around here need the money,” she said. “There’s not a lot of jobs here. We try to pay out every two weeks because we know they need the money.”

Places with quick payments and particularly bleak economic conditions tended to report increases in call volume. Lee County, Fla., had the highest rate for home foreclosures in the United States in February and March, and its once-plentiful construction jobs have dried up.

Last week, the Crime Stoppers coordinator there, Trish Routte, got a call from a man reporting drug activity, a tip that paid him $450. It was his second call in a week, said Ms. Routte, who recognized the caller’s voice.

“He told me he really didn’t want to call but he just had a new grandbaby and he needed the money,” Ms. Routte said.

Economic problems for families, Ms. Routte acknowledged, were good business for Crime Stoppers. “We’re kind of banking on that, really,” she said. “If it helps put dinner on the table for somebody, that’s wonderful.”


Report by Tetractys Merkaba Editor-in-Chief

I was a little disappointed when I read this article that I found on-line. When I get a little bit of time, I hope to write about this at further length. One thing that I will say for now, that I think it is important to look beyond the left/right wing charade, and see politics for what it truly is; A self defined, so-called 'elite' group of aggressive beings, that possess an economic and political advantage over many beings in our community. Please feel free to post responses to this article.

Zeitgeist — beyond the hype

Trent Hawkins & Tom Cameron
24 April 2009

Two years ago the film Zeitgeist made its way onto the internet scene, receiving millions of views on YouTube. Last year a new film was released called Zeitgeist Addendum, which sparked the “Zeitgeist movement”.

So what is it that makes Zeitgeist so popular? And what is it that the Zeitgeist films actually deal with?

Zeitgeist producer Peter Joseph has said, “it is my hope that people will not take what is said in the film as the truth, but find out for themselves, for truth is not told, it is realised …”

Yet the reality is that both films try to offer an alternative to the current corrupt social system.

The first edition of the film begins with a critique of Christianity. We are told it is “an instrument of the ruling classes keeping the masses occupied” and from knowing their real condition.

The film also promotes some pretty off-the-wall conspiracy theories. It says the world is ruled by a small wealthy ruling elite who are responsible for incidents like the 9/11 terror attacks.

Zeitgest also suggests the Great Depression was a conspiracy organised by an elite group of bankers to consolidate capital and that the World Wars were planned for a similar purpose.

The elites, the film says, are intent on microchipping humans and plan to form a one world government.

The second film, Zeitgeist Addendum, has become more prominent with the global economic crisis. It attempts to explain how the world financial system works.

The film enlists the help of John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman, to explain the role of economic bodies like the IMF and World Bank.

Despite some generally correct points about the role of these bodies, the film simply reduces the cause of poverty and injustice to the existence of money, debt and interest.

The film says “people are forced to compete for labour in order to pool enough money out of the money supply to cover their costs of living”.

Communism, socialism, facism and free-market capitalism are, therefore, all variations of the same system. None of them abolished money.

These arguments are very similar to those raised by the far-right neo-fascist Citizen's Electoral Council.

An alternative form of society, the “resource based economy”, is the Zeitgeist ideal.

This ignores the real basis of the current system — private ownership and control of resources, their exploitation, production into commodities and sale of these commodities for profit.

The “resource based economy” is based on 100% renewable energy. Maglev (magnetic levitation) trains are used for long distance transport. Machines, rather than people, do all the work. Money and debt is abolished completely.

The film offers the following actions for achieving “social transformation”: boycott the banks, boycott the media (only use internet); boycott the military; boycott the energy companies; reject the political system; and join the Zeitgeist movement.

But these are really just lifestyle changes. They amount to “dropping out” of society, not fighting to change it.

Furthermore, Zeitgeist fails to provide any explanation for how human beings can actually challenge the power of the elites.

As socialists, we recognise that the elites are really the capitalist class who own and control the resources and means of producing wealth in society.

Ordinary people are forced to sell their labour power to the capitalists in return for a wage in order to survive.

No change to the status quo can be achieved until ordinary people can organise a revolutionary mass (not individualist) political movement — a movement with the aim of removing the capitalists from power and allowing working people to run society to meet the needs of people and planet.

The Zeitgeist Movement is not organising for this kind of social change.

Instead, people who want to challenge the corruption of today’s society should help build the real movements which exist, and lay the groundwork for a real alternative — democratic socialism.

[The authors are members of the socialist youth organisation, Resistance. The Zeitgeist movies can be viewed at Zeitgeistmovie.com.]

From: Comment & Analysis, Green Left Weekly issue #792 29 April 2009.


Report by Tetractys Merkaba

I found this on an Facebook page. Some of you may find this an interesting read. It contains an alternative explanation of the 9/11 inside job.

This article appears in the July 17, 2009 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

9/11 Cover Is Blown

by Jeffrey Steinberg

[PDF version of this article]

July 10—In the report that follows, you will discover that some of the most fundamental assumptions that you have been clinging to, since Sept. 11, 2001—assumptions that Lyndon LaRouche warned against—have been a total fraud. Much of what you have been told about the events of 9/11 have been a hoax. The truth, which is clearly revealed in newly declassified documents, available through the National Archives, is that two leading, presumed U.S. allies—Saudi Arabia and Great Britain—were up to their eyeballs in the attacks on New York City and Washington. The United States was betrayed by leading elements within the Saudi Arabian Royal Family and intelligence services, in league with the British Empire. And, top officials of the Bush-Cheney White House, the Justice Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were both aware of, and fully complicit in the coverup of the crime of the century.

The Anglo-Saudi alliance behind the 9/11 atrocity is represented, most graphically, by a 25-year-old secret intelligence arrangement, concealed beneath a lucrative arms-for-oil barter deal called "al-Yamamah." There is now sufficient, credible evidence that funds from the offshore al-Yamamah accounts were funneled to at least two of the 9/11 hijackers, to warrant a high-profile Justice Department probe, without delay.

The newly released documents, when cross-gridded with other evidence already in the public domain, confirm the Anglo-Saudi hand behind 9/11, and debunk nearly eight years of conspiracy rubbish, that have portrayed the attacks as a scheme by cave-dwellers and "under-the-floorboard" mysterious forces. The writings of a former LaRouche associate, Webster Tarpley, more or less typify the kind of off-course conspiracy mongering that is now thoroughly discredited by the new material and the larger picture assembled by EIR researchers. (See also this April 17, 2009 EIR article).

Elements of the story have already been reported in EIR, and LaRouche instinctively pointed to the true nature of the operation, in a now-famous radio interview that he gave to the Salt Lake City-based syndicated radio host Dr. Jack Stockwell, as the hijacked planes were crashing into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

If the full implications of the new, confirming evidence of the Anglo-Saudi hand in the 9/11 attack are comprehended and acted on, by the appropriate U.S. and other government services, one of the root sources of global asymmetric warfare can be wiped out—with many other side benefits as well.

The New Evidence

Early this year, the National Archives released documents from the files of the 9/11 Commission, which were previously classified. Three of those documents, recently obtained by EIR, provide the "smoking gun," proving the central role of Saudi intelligence, and the critical support role of British intelligence in the preparation, execution, and coverup of 9/11. The most significant of the documents, still partly classified, is a "Memorandum for the Record," summarizing an April 23, 2004 interview with a Southern California-based FBI informant, who rented out a room in his home to two of the 9/11 hijackers, during 2000. Although the memorandum redacted the informant's name, other public sources have identified the man as Abdussattar Shaikh. His FBI handler has also been publicly named as Steven Butler.

In the interview, Shaikh provided a detailed account of his first encounter with the two 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar. In April 2000, Shaikh posted an announcement on the bulletin board at the Islamic Center of San Diego (ICSD), offering to rent rooms in his home to "devout Muslims." At the time he posted the ad, Shaikh was already acting as a paid informant for the FBI. According to his account to 9/11 Commission investigators Quinn John Tamm, Jr. and Dietrich Snell, Shaikh was approached after Friday prayers by al-Hazmi, who said he and al-Mihdhar urgently needed housing. By Shaikh's account, the two men moved into his home on May 10, 2000. Al-Mihdhar left after six weeks, claiming that he was returning to Saudi Arabia to visit his wife and young child. Al-Hazmi lived in the room until Dec. 10, 2000, when he moved out to attend pilot school in Arizona.

At one point in the interview, the 9/11 investigators asked Shaikh about another Saudi, Omar al-Bayoumi. From the Commission document: "Dr. Xxxxxx [Shaikh] noted that Omar al-Bayoumi also visited al-Hazmi at his house. Dr. Xxxxxx knew al-Bayoumi as a Saudi national who Dr. Xxxxxx met at the ICSD. Al-Bayoumi stated to Dr. Xxxxxx when he visited, that 'I referred them (al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar) to you.' Dr. Xxxxxx restated that his was not the case and that he met the two in the hallway of the ICSD after the Friday prayer service."

The report continued: "Al-Hazmi did not like al-Bayoumi and told Dr. Xxxxxx that al-Bayoumi was 'an agent for the Saudis.' Al-Hazmi complained to Dr. Xxxxxx that al-Bayoumi videotaped people associated with the ICSD constantly. Dr. Xxxxxx noted that was his experience when he attended events at the ICSD. Dr. Xxxxxx said that al-Bayoumi always had his videotape recorder and sought comment to the open mike on the videotape recorder. Dr. Xxxxxx stated that, 'I have heard that al-Bayoumi is an agent (of the Saudis).' "

Shaikh's candid description of al-Bayoumi as a Saudi intelligence agent, in regular contact with one of the 9/11 hijackers, is stunning in its own right. The fact that Shaikh was an FBI informant, who, according to several U.S. intelligence sources, regularly received payments from the Bureau to keep tabs on the Muslim community in the San Diego area, and hosted two of the hijackers, is equally stunning. But the full extent of the al-Bayoumi dossier, as known to the FBI and other U.S. government agencies, goes well beyond the surface scandal.

Al-Bayoumi was far more than a "frequent visitor" to Shaikh's home, while al-Hazmi was living there. The essential facts are as follows.

On Jan. 15, 2000, al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, where they had attended a meeting of number of al-Qaeda members and allies. The two men were met at the airport by al-Bayoumi, who brought them to San Diego, rented them an apartment, co-signed the lease, and even put down a $1,500 deposit and rent. Al-Bayoumi would later arrange for the two men to enroll in flight training school.

Al-Bayoumi's association with three of the 9/11 hijackers (he hosted a third hijacker, Hani Hanjour, at his apartment on a number of occasions, in the Spring of 2000, according to FBI and Congressional documents) prompted one Federal government source to tell reporters, "Some Federal investigators suspect that al-Bayoumi could have been an advance man for the 9/11 hijackers."

But, al-Bayoumi was also, undisputedly, an agent of Saudi intelligence! According to the FBI and CIA dossiers on him, and records from both the House-Senate joint intelligence probe and the 9/11 Commission, al-Bayoumi came to the United States in August 1994. He was previously employed by the Saudi Ministry of Defense, and continued to draw a salary of $3,000 a month from the Ministry after he moved to the United States, through 2002. In the U.S., he was formally listed as an employee of Dallah Avco, a Saudi defense company that held lucrative contracts with the Ministry of Defense and Aviation, and was owned by members of the Saudi Royal Family. According to U.S. Federal investigators, al-Bayoumi never actually did any work for Dallah Avco. However, his monthly salary from the firm increased to $3,500 right after al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar arrived in the U.S.A.

Further adding to al-Bayoumi's considerable personal finances, in June 1998, an anonymous contribution arrived from Saudi Arabia. The $500,000 was a down-payment on a new mosque, to be built in San Diego—with the proviso that Omar al-Bayoumi be appointed as director of maintenance, with an office and a guaranteed salary. Eyewitnesses told the FBI and the 9/11 Commission that al-Bayoumi was rarely seen at the mosque.

Al-Bayoumi was, however, in constant communication with top Saudi government officials in the United States and in Riyadh. According to the records of the joint Congressional investigation and the 9/11 Commission, between January 2000—when al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar arrived in California—and May 2000, al-Bayoumi made 32 calls to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., 37 calls to the Saudi Cultural Mission in Washington, and 24 calls to the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles. His contact at the Consulate was Fahad Thumairy, who held diplomatic credentials, but was one of the most virulently anti-American imams in the area. He would be deported from the United States after 9/11.

In late June or early July 2001, al-Bayoumi and his wife, Manal Ahmed Bagader, suddenly left San Diego, and moved to England, where al-Bayoumi ostensibly entered business school at Aston University. Within days after the 9/11 attacks, he was detained by Scotland Yard and held for one week. However, he was released for lack of evidence, and he immediately left England for Saudi Arabia.

Osama Basnan

Omar al-Bayoumi was not alone in his liaison work between Saudi intelligence and some of the 9/11 hijackers. He worked closely with another Saudi intelligence officer, Osama Basnan, who entered the United States in 1980 on a short-term tourist visa, but remained in the country until October 2002, when he and his wife were deported as illegal aliens.

An FBI report, written shortly after 9/11, warned that evidence gathered on Basnan "could indicate that he succeeded Omar al-Bayoumi and may be undertaking activities on behalf of the Government of Saudi Arabia." An FBI classified report, dated Oct. 3, 2001, noted that Basnan was in contact with members of the bin Laden family, who were living in the United States. In the days immediately following 9/11, members of the bin Laden family in the United States, along with other top Saudis, were quietly flown home—at a time when no other non-military flights were being allowed.

Basnan was a subject of FBI interest long before Sept. 11. In 1992, according to news accounts, Basnan was investigated by the Bureau for ties to Eritrean Islamic Jihad (EIJ), an organization that was closely linked to al-Qaeda by no later than 1996. On Oct. 17, 1992, Basnan, then living in Washington, D.C., hosted a party at his home for Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, the so-called "blind sheikh," now in jail for plotting terrorist attacks in New York City. At the time, according to U.S. intelligence sources, the FBI produced a still-classified report, detailing Basnan's work for the Saudi government, despite his ties to Islamic radicals.

Indeed, U.S. intelligence sources report that Basnan was arrested on drug charges in the Los Angeles area, but the charges were dropped, after intensive pressure from the Saudi Embassy.

The Ambassador and the Princess

If Omar al-Bayoumi's ties to the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation are firmly established, his personal ties to the former Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and his wife, Princess Haifa, are even less in dispute. In April 1998, Prince Bandar, who is also the son of the Saudi Defense Minister, Prince Sultan, sent a check to Basnan in the amount of $15,000. Bandar claims that the check was an "act of charity," in response to a written appeal by Basnan for help in paying medical bills for his wife. Beginning in November 1999, just weeks before the two 9/11 hijackers arrived at the Los Angeles Airport, Princess Haifa began sending monthly cashiers checks, from her account at Riggs National Bank in Washington, to Basnan's wife, Majida Ibrahim Ahmad Dweikat. The checks continued until May 2002. The royal couple sent a total of $53-72,000 to Basnan and his wife. According to the House-Senate joint investigation, many of the cashier checks from Princess Haifa to Basnan's wife were signed over to the wife of al-Bayoumi. Most of these transactions took place while Basnan and al-Bayoumi were "handling" the financial affairs of at least two of the 9/11 hijackers, al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar. And the pair of Saudi intelligence officers also had some, as yet not-fully-known ties to a third hijacker, Hani Hanjour.

Prince Bandar's BAE Bounty

At the time that Prince Bandar and Princess Haifa were making their "charitable" contributions to Basnan and al-Bayoumi, the then-Saudi Ambassador to the United States was on the receiving end of at least $2 billion in kickbacks from Great Britain's premier defense firm, BAE Systems. The BAE scandal exploded into the public view several years ago, when BBC, the London Guardian, and other publications revealed that BAE was making tens of billions of dollars in payouts to Saudi Defense Ministry officials, and other members of the Saudi Royal Family, in return for arms contracts worth a fortune.

The BAE-Saudi scandal dated all the way back to 1985, when Prince Bandar personally brokered a deal with then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, to sell an initial $40 billion in BAE military hardware and services to Saudi Arabia, in return for Saudi crude oil. The deal, cynically known as "al-Yamamah" ("the Dove") was far more than a barter arrangement. BAE padded the costs of the fighter jets, training planes, air defense systems and support services by an estimated one-third, to launder payoffs to top Saudis—including Prince Bandar. In return, Saudi Arabia delivered the equivalent of one super-tanker of oil per day (on average) to BAE, which had a contract with British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell, to immediately sell the oil on the spot market. For the Saudis, it was a lucrative deal. Even aside from the kickbacks that lined the pockets of many a Saudi prince and ministry official, the crude oil cost the Saudis under $5 a barrel. BP and Royal Dutch Shell sold the oil at fantastic markups.

As the result of this unique arrangement, an offshore Anglo-Saudi intelligence slush fund was amassed, amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars, starting in 1985. In a semi-official biography of Prince Bandar, published several years ago, author William Simpson candidly wrote that al-Yamamah was, first and foremost, a geo-strategic partnership between London and Riyadh, which funneled money covertly to the Afghan mujahideen who were battling the Soviet Army in the 1980s; funded Chad in its border war with Libya; and bypassed the U.S. Congress to deliver American military hardware to the Saudi Air Force.

Some senior U.S. intelligence officials insist that a full investigation of Prince Bandar's role in the al-Yamamah scheme would reveal that some of the BAE payoffs went from the Bank of England, to Bandar's account at Riggs National Bank—into the hands of Basnan, al-Bayoumi, and the California 9/11 hijackers cell. By Aug. 2, 2003, so many questions had been raised about the Bandar payoffs to Basnan, that the Ambassador was forced to issue a personal statement, through the Saudi Embassy, branding the allegations "baseless and not true," nothing more than "rumor, innuendo, and untruths." He cited President George W. Bush, who "praised the Saudi commitment to fighting terrorism."

Bandar's efforts to cover up the Saudi government hand in 9/11, by invoking the words of President Bush, only served to further infuriate those U.S. officials who were trying to get to the bottom of the Sept. 11 plot. House and Senate intelligence committee investigators knew, for example, that when their final "Report of the Joint Inquiry into the Terrorist Attacks of Sept. 11, 2001" was submitted to the White House for final review before publication, the entire text of a 28-page chapter, documenting evidence of Saudi government support for the hijackers—including the Bandar payments to Basnan—was blocked from publication and remains classified to this day. In a recent meeting with the families of the 9/11 victims, President Barack Obama was pressed to declassify the chapter.

Both Presidents Bush were so close to Prince Bandar that the longtime Saudi Ambassador was widely referred to as an "honorary member of the Bush family." The G.W. Bush White House commitment to brutally suppress the evidence of the Anglo-Saudi hand in 9/11 was so deep that Osama Basnan, the Saudi intelligence officer, felt confident enough to be in Houston, Texas, on April 24-25, 2002, when then-Saudi Crown Prince (now King) Abdullah, along with Prince Bandar, visited Bush 43 at his Crawford ranch. The Prince's entourage was massive—eight planeloads of aides and hangers-on. Among the crowd were three Saudi officials suspected of ties to al-Qaeda. The "embarrassing" incident was suppressed, along with Basnan's presence in nearby Houston, where he was reportedly meeting with a billionaire Saudi prince who was part of the Crawford entourage.

Four months later, Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which conducted the joint Congressional 9/11 probe along with the House Intelligence Committee, declared that, to his knowledge, the CIA had "incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi government." He would later emphasize the point in his book on the joint Congressional probe, Intelligence Matters.

Britain: State Sponsor of Terrorism

In December 2000, the editors of EIR submitted a lengthy memorandum to then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, seeking an investigation of British government sponsorship of international terrorism (see below). The memo, prepared with the assistance of State Department attorneys, who provided EIR with the official criteria for placing a nation on the list of "state sponsors of terrorism," relied exclusively on official government documents, from no fewer than nine nations, that had formally protested British government protection, and, in some cases, financing of active terrorist cells on British soil. The EIR memo was triggered by a rash of asymmetric warfare attacks, many by groups spawned out of the 1979-89 Afghanistan War against the Soviets, a war covertly bankrolled and logistically backed by British, French, American, Saudi, and Israeli intelligence services.

The British government's protection was extended to such terror groups as the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which had a radio transmitter in Britain that broadcast marching orders for terrorist attacks into eastern Turkey; the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which carried out a brutal 1997 attack on Japanese tourists at Luxor, Egypt, and had earlier assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat; the Indian terrorist group Lashkar e-Taibi, which carried out assassinations and hijackings in 1999; and Chechen terrorists, who were recruited out of mosques in England.

Among the charges against the British government: British intelligence had looked the other way, throughout the 1990s, as Osama bin Laden moved between Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, and England. The London Times admitted that, throughout the second half of 1996, bin Laden made frequent trips to London, "clearly under the protection of British authorities." The Times had spotted bin Laden, earlier in the 1990s, at the London estate of Khalid bin Mahfouz, a wealthy Saudi banker who was a leading Muslim Brotherhood funder of a wide array of Jihadi groups, and a major shareholder in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). In 1994, the French and Algerian governments filed diplomatic démarches with the British Foreign Office, charging that bin Laden had met with leaders of the Islamic Group of Algeria (GIA), which was then carrying out terror bombings in both countries. French intelligence tracked the bin Laden/GIA meetings to a bin Laden-owned estate in Wembley. For three months in 1994, according to other French sources, including investigator Roland Jacquard, Osama bin Laden lived on Harrow Road in London. Even after he left the country, bin Laden's leading propagandists operated out of London.

According to "conventional wisdom," the British protection of a worldwide nexus of terrorist organizations was based on an understanding that the groups would not operate on British soil, or target British interests abroad. But, anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the history of the British Empire, from the early days of the British East India Company, through Lord Palmerston's sponsorship of the Young Europe, Young America, and Young Turk operations of the 19th Century, realizes immediately that this is a fraud. Sponsorship of asymmetric warfare is at the very heart of the British/Venetian method. And the Anglo-Saudi al-Yamamah project is the 20th- and 21st-Century equivalent of the British East India Company's sponsorship of legions of ethnic and religious separatist groups, assuring a ready stable of political assassins and perpetrators of "chaos on demand" around the globe.

Will the Bush League Coverup End?

Even as investigators for the joint Congressional inquiry and the 9/11 Commission attempted to get at the role of Saudi intelligence in 9/11, a vicious coverup was being imposed directly from the White House, and with full complicity of elements within the FBI and Department of Justice. It became so blatant, that three 9/11 Commission investigators—Kevin Scheid, Col. Lorry Fenner, and Gordon Lederman—drafted a memo to their staff supervisors, Dan Marcus and Steve Dunne, proposing guidelines for FBI and other "minders." The memo bitterly complained that FBI and other "minders" sitting in on interviews with Commission witnesses, interfered in the questioning and intimidated the witnesses:

"Minders have positioned themselves physically and have conducted themselves in a manner that we believe intimidates witnesses from giving full and candid responses to our questions. Minders generally sat next to witnesses at the table and across from Commission staff, conveying to witnesses that minders are participants in interviews and are of equal status to witnesses. Moreover, minders take verbatim notes of witnesses' statements and may engage in retribution. We believe that the net effect of minders' conduct, whether intentionally or not, is to intimidate witnesses and to interfere with witnesses providing full and candid responses."

The memo concluded with a plea: "We request that you raise the subject of minders' conduct with the Executive Branch in order to prevent minders from comporting themselves in these ways in the future."

Attached to the memo were ten proposed rules of conduct, to block the intimidation. Apart from the fact that the memorandum was declassified and released at the National Archive earlier this year, no action was taken; and the Bush White House coverup—typified by the suppression of the Congressional report section dealing with Saudi government complicity in 9/11—continued to the end.

Condoleezza Rice Lied

The coverup, in at least one case, may have involved contempt of Congress. When a battle erupted between the 9/11 Commission and the White House, over the public disclosure of segments of a Presidential Daily Briefing from August 2001, in which President Bush was explicitly warned about a high-probability al-Qaeda attack against the continental United States, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified before Congress that there was no "actionable intelligence" provided by the intelligence community, and that no one could have anticipated the events of 9/11.

In stark contrast to Rice's sworn testimony, U.S. intelligence had strong indications that, not only was al-Qaeda planning to hijack planes, but was planning to use them as weapons. According to the third document released this year by the 9/11 Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) conducted a series of exercises, as early as October 1998—shortly after the attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa—involving hijackings. The last of the exercises, "Vigilant Guardian I," took place between Sept. 6-10, 2001. In one of the scenarios, described in a 9/11 Commission summary chronology, a London-to-New York flight is hijacked by "terrorists with explosives who plan to detonate them over NYC." Clearly, the idea that terrorists were planning to use aircraft as a weapon against New York City, was on the minds of some Federal counter-terror officials prior to 9/11.

Basnan's Free Ride Home

On Oct. 21, 2002, a Federal judge in California ordered Osama Yousef Basnan and his wife, Majida Ibrahim Ahmad Dweikat, to be deported from the United States—for immigration violations! The Saudi intelligence officer who had been in the country illegally since the early 1980s, who had bankrolled, along with Omar al-Bayoumi, at least two of the 9/11 hijackers, was so pleased with the judge's order to send him back to Saudi Arabia, that he walked up to the Federal prosecutor at the end of the hearing and shook his hand, thanking him profusely for the free ride home.

The message delivered that day in court could not have been clearer: The Anglo-Saudi terror nexus was off limits. The idea that two of America's most trusted so-called allies—Great Britain and Saudi Arabia—had betrayed the United States, and played an indispensible role in the worst terrorist atrocity in history on American soil, was to be buried.