U.S. Ignored Intel of 2000 Al Qaeda Hijack Plot: Didn’t Believe “Usama bin Laden’s Organization or the Taliban Could Carry out Such an Operation”

September 27, 2013

judicialwatch.org

The United States disregarded advanced warning of a 2000 Al Qaeda plot to hijack a commercial airliner because “nobody believed that Usama bin Laden’s organization or the Taliban could carry out such an operation,” according to intelligence documents obtained by Judicial Watch.

It took the government 11 years to furnish the records, requested in May 2002 as part of JW’s Terrorism Research and Analysis Project, and they are just as alarming today as they would have been a decade ago. The documents, from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) reveal that Al Qaeda had a sophisticated plan to hijack a commercial airliner departing Frankfurt International Airport between March and August 2000. The hijack team was to consist of an Arab, a Pakistani and a Chechen and their targets were U.S. airlines, Lufthansa and Air France. 

The intelligence report is remarkably rich in operational details and includes the names, addresses, telephone numbers, operatives’ assignments and duties. It pieces together an intricate plot directed by a 40-year-old Saudi (Sheik Dzabir) from a prominent family with ties to the House of Saud. Al Qaeda actually penetrated the consular section of the German Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, relying on a contact referred to in the intelligence report as “Mrs. Wagner” to provide European Union (EU) visas for use in forged Pakistani passports for the terrorists.

Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Chechen Islamist militants all had substantial operating and support bases in Hamburg and Frankfurt, Germany, according to the data, which also identifies an Al Qaeda passport forger in Hamburg using name, address and telephone numbers. The Taliban Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs conducted meetings in Frankfurt for Taliban and other Afghan terrorists and support personnel during January and February 2000, the U.S. intelligence files reveal.

The records also show documented operational coordination and cooperation between Al Qaeda and Chechen militants. This includes the existence of a secure, reliable terrorist-sponsored route to Chechnya from Pakistan and Afghanistan through Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Chechen withdrawal from the plot delayed the operation, the intelligence report says. It also documents evidence of an extensive Al Qaeda terror and support network in Germany as well as deep ties between Al Qaeda and Chechens.

Information about the plot came from an unidentified human intelligence source that provided U.S. authorities with copies of Arabic letters containing details of the Al Qaeda plot. For years the subject report was classified “SECRET” until it finally got declassified and released to JW on August 22, 2013. JW continues gathering information on Al Qaeda activities and U.S. investigations leading to the 9/11 hijackings as well as other terrorist attacks.  

In fact, a separate classified intelligence report obtained by JW in 2005 suddenly became relevant this year when “radicalized” Chechen brothers detonated bombs at the Boston Marathon. That document includes shocking details of Al Qaeda’s operations in Chechnya and the tactics employed by Chechen terrorists, including cell phone detonation of backpack bombs like in Boston. It also contains information about Al Qaeda’s activities in Chechnya, including the creation of a 1995 camp—ordered by Osama bin Laden—to train “international terrorists” to carry out plots against Americans and westerners.

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Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the ‘pathetic’ American media

theguardian.com

Friday 27 September 2013

By Lisa O’Carroll

Seymour Hersh

Seymour Hersh exposed the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam war, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. Photograph: Wally McNamee/Corbis

Pulitzer Prize winner explains how to fix journalism, saying press should ‘fire 90% of editors and promote ones you can’t control’. 

Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.

It doesn’t take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as “the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist”.

He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.

Don’t even get him started on the New York Times which, he says, spends “so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would” – or the death of Osama bin Laden. “Nothing’s been done about that story, it’s one big lie, not one word of it is true,” he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.

Hersh is writing a book about national security and has devoted a chapter to the bin Laden killing. He says a recent report put out by an “independent” Pakistani commission about life in the Abottabad compound in which Bin Laden was holed up would not stand up to scrutiny. “The Pakistanis put out a report, don’t get me going on it. Let’s put it this way, it was done with considerable American input. It’s a bullshit report,” he says hinting of revelations to come in his book.

The Obama administration lies systematically, he claims, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him.

“It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama],” he declares in an interview with the Guardian.

“It used to be when you were in a situation when something very dramatic happened, the president and the minions around the president had control of the narrative, you would pretty much know they would do the best they could to tell the story straight. Now that doesn’t happen any more. Now they take advantage of something like that and they work out how to re-elect the president.

He isn’t even sure if the recent revelations about the depth and breadth of surveillance by the National Security Agency will have a lasting effect.

Snowden changed the debate on surveillance

He is certain that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden “changed the whole nature of the debate” about surveillance. Hersh says he and other journalists had written about surveillance, but Snowden was significant because he provided documentary evidence – although he is sceptical about whether the revelations will change the US government’s policy.

“Duncan Campbell [the British investigative journalist who broke the Zircon cover-up story], James Bamford [US journalist] and Julian Assange and me and the New Yorker, we’ve all written the notion there’s constant surveillance, but he [Snowden] produced a document and that changed the whole nature of the debate, it’s real now,” Hersh says.

“Editors love documents. Chicken-shit editors who wouldn’t touch stories like that, they love documents, so he changed the whole ball game,” he adds, before qualifying his remarks.

“But I don’t know if it’s going to mean anything in the long [run] because the polls I see in America – the president can still say to voters ‘al-Qaida, al-Qaida’ and the public will vote two to one for this kind of surveillance, which is so idiotic,” he says.

Holding court to a packed audience at City University in London’s summer school on investigative journalism, 76-year-old Hersh is on full throttle, a whirlwind of amazing stories of how journalism used to be; how he exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, how he got the Abu Ghraib pictures of American soldiers brutalising Iraqi prisoners, and what he thinks of Edward Snowden.

Hope of redemption

Despite his concern about the timidity of journalism he believes the trade still offers hope of redemption.

“I have this sort of heuristic view that journalism, we possibly offer hope because the world is clearly run by total nincompoops more than ever … Not that journalism is always wonderful, it’s not, but at least we offer some way out, some integrity.”

His story of how he uncovered the My Lai atrocity is one of old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism and doggedness. Back in 1969, he got a tip about a 26-year-old platoon leader, William Calley, who had been charged by the army with alleged mass murder.

Instead of picking up the phone to a press officer, he got into his car and started looking for him in the army camp of Fort Benning in Georgia, where he heard he had been detained. From door to door he searched the vast compound, sometimes blagging his way, marching up to the reception, slamming his fist on the table and shouting: “Sergeant, I want Calley out now.”

Eventually his efforts paid off with his first story appearing in the St Louis Post-Despatch, which was then syndicated across America and eventually earned him the Pulitzer Prize. “I did five stories. I charged $100 for the first, by the end the [New York] Times were paying $5,000.”

He was hired by the New York Times to follow up the Watergate scandal and ended up hounding Nixon over Cambodia. Almost 30 years later, Hersh made global headlines all over again with his exposure of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Put in the hours

For students of journalism his message is put the miles and the hours in. He knew about Abu Ghraib five months before he could write about it, having been tipped off by a senior Iraqi army officer who risked his own life by coming out of Baghdad to Damascus to tell him how prisoners had been writing to their families asking them to come and kill them because they had been “despoiled”.

“I went five months looking for a document, because without a document, there’s nothing there, it doesn’t go anywhere.”

Hersh returns to US president Barack Obama. He has said before that the confidence of the US press to challenge the US government collapsed post 9/11, but he is adamant that Obama is worse than Bush.

“Do you think Obama’s been judged by any rational standards? Has Guantanamo closed? Is a war over? Is anyone paying any attention to Iraq? Is he seriously talking about going into Syria? We are not doing so well in the 80 wars we are in right now, what the hell does he want to go into another one for. What’s going on [with journalists]?” he asks.

He says investigative journalism in the US is being killed by the crisis of confidence, lack of resources and a misguided notion of what the job entails.

“Too much of it seems to me is looking for prizes. It’s journalism looking for the Pulitzer Prize,” he adds. “It’s a packaged journalism, so you pick a target like – I don’t mean to diminish because anyone who does it works hard – but are railway crossings safe and stuff like that, that’s a serious issue but there are other issues too.

“Like killing people, how does [Obama] get away with the drone programme, why aren’t we doing more? How does he justify it? What’s the intelligence? Why don’t we find out how good or bad this policy is? Why do newspapers constantly cite the two or three groups that monitor drone killings. Why don’t we do our own work?

“Our job is to find out ourselves, our job is not just to say – here’s a debate’ our job is to go beyond the debate and find out who’s right and who’s wrong about issues. That doesn’t happen enough. It costs money, it costs time, it jeopardises, it raises risks. There are some people – the New York Times still has investigative journalists but they do much more of carrying water for the president than I ever thought they would … it’s like you don’t dare be an outsider any more.”

He says in some ways President George Bush‘s administration was easier to write about. “The Bush era, I felt it was much easier to be critical than it is [of] Obama. Much more difficult in the Obama era,” he said.

Asked what the solution is Hersh warms to his theme that most editors are pusillanimous and should be fired.

“I’ll tell you the solution, get rid of 90% of the editors that now exist and start promoting editors that you can’t control,” he says. I saw it in the New York Times, I see people who get promoted are the ones on the desk who are more amenable to the publisher and what the senior editors want and the trouble makers don’t get promoted. Start promoting better people who look you in the eye and say ‘I don’t care what you say’.

Nor does he understand why the Washington Post held back on the Snowden files until it learned the Guardian was about to publish.

If Hersh was in charge of US Media Inc, his scorched earth policy wouldn’t stop with newspapers.

“I would close down the news bureaus of the networks and let’s start all over, tabula rasa. The majors, NBCs, ABCs, they won’t like this – just do something different, do something that gets people mad at you, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing,” he says.

Hersh is currently on a break from reporting, working on a book which undoubtedly will make for uncomfortable reading for both Bush and Obama.

“The republic’s in trouble, we lie about everything, lying has become the staple.” And he implores journalists to do something about it.

Coast to Coast AM September 9 2013 Stewart Rhodes on Defending the Constitution

Stewart Rhodes, founder and President of Oath Keepers, argued that there’s a relentless campaign going on to centralize power, militarize the police, and strip power out of the hands of average citizens. This kind of situation sets people up for a dictatorship, such as seen in Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany, he remarked. Rhodes believes that economic collapse and the ensuing chaos will be used to accelerate the centralizing of power, and the scrapping of the US Constitution.

Stewart also discusses what people need to do now to counter that assault and to prepare for what is coming.

Obama EPA War on Coal to Shut 200+ Coal-Fired Plants, Devastate Economy

Originally posted Friday, 09 August 2013 

Written by  William F. Jasper

thenewamerican.com

America is staring at a fast-approaching energy disaster that needn’t happen. The recent discovery and development of vast deposits of oil and natural gas, now recoverable with new technologies, have provided the U.S. economy with a much-needed boost over the past several years. These new energy sources also offer promise of increasing America’s competitive advantage by drastically lowering energy costs and reducing American dependence on foreign oil. This is of critical importance to luring manufacturing and industry back to the United States.

However, coal, one of our most abundant and important sources of energy, will remain a major component of any viable energy scheme for the United States. According to the federal Energy Information Agency (EIA), 45 percent of the country’s annual four trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity are generated from coal. And, says the EIA, we have a Demonstrated Reserve Base of 496 billion short tons of coal, of which 272 billion tons are considered recoverable with current technology. With U.S. usage at 1.1 billion tons per year, we have about 250 years’ supply at the present rate of consumption.

President Obama, however, has taken the path of the most extreme environmental radicals and declared war on coal. Since he has not been able to get Congress to enact legislation to destroy the coal industry, he is unconstitutionally using the EPA to regulate coal into extinction. 

On August 2, the Reuters news service provided a list of 207 coal-fired plants that are scheduled to close. A May 2 news release from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) puts the total of coal-fired plant closings even higher, at 285, in 32 states.

If Congress does not restrain the EPA’s regulatory binge, Americans will be hit not only with much higher electricity prices, but also with brownouts and blackouts, especially during the cold winter months and hot summer spells, when heaters and air conditioners put the squeeze on power grids. Warnings of potential brownouts and the need for the public to ease up on air conditioning, as issued recently in Boston and New York, will become commonplace if coal is banished as an energy source.

Barack Obama’s antipathy toward coal is no secret. During his first presidential run, in 2008, candidate Obama let it be known that his plan was to bankrupt the coal industry with huge fees and impossible-to-comply-with regulations, all under the pretext of saving the planet from the discredited threat of global warming. Then-Senator Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle: “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

 Ed Hiserodt explained in The New American last year in “Coal: The Rock That Burns”

Despite the increasing cleanliness of the air in the United States, Obama’s EPA is implementing extremely burdensome regulations, purportedly to clean up air pollution. However, the implementation requirements of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule reveal its purpose of punishing coal-fired generation: The modifications required for any power plant are tremendous in terms of engineering man-hours, design of site-specific control devices, and lengthy shutdowns for construction purposes. Years of planning and ordering capital equipment are necessary for even seemingly minor projects. 

Obama Advisor Admits “War on Coal”

One of President Obama’s top environmental advisers, Prof. Daniel Schrag, who runs Harvard University’s Center for the Environment, publicly let the cat out of the bag in a recent interview with the New York Times. Prof. Schrag told the Times

Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.

In short, the administration is trying to appear moderate and attempting to portray its anti-coal crusade as a commonsense response to protect public health and safety by regulating coal air emissions and water pollution. But stripped of its camouflage, the Obama EPA is indeed engaged in a war on coal.  

Prof. Schrag, a full-blown global-warming alarmist, is less inclined to mince words. He is also less than collegial and tolerant when it comes to debating fellow scientists who do not share his hysterical views on climate change. After testifying before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in 2006, Schrag took to the pages of the Boston Globe to denounce the distinguished scientists and professors who had provided testimony contradicting his alarmism as “a gathering of liars and charlatans, sponsored by those industries who want to protect their profits.”

Not exactly civil, professional behavior on the part of Prof. Schrag, but it is typical of the zealotry of the Green Lobby that has encamped about Obama and his appointments that populate the regulatory agencies.

Gina McCarthy “Fuel-switching” Tactic: Natural Gas vs. Coal

Leading the FedGov regulatory blitzkrieg on coal is the EPA. Things are not likely to improve there under Gina McCarthy, Obama’s newly appointed EPA administrator, who was confirmed by the Senate in July, on a 59-40 vote. In a June 26 story for CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow), Dr. Bonner Cohen reported

In 2012, the Obama EPA issued its “new source performance standard” that effectively made it impossible to build new coal-fired power plants, because no technology exists that would enable utilities to meet the new standards. At the time, the head of EPA’s air office, Gina McCarthy, assured the public that existing plants would not have to meet the new standard and that EPA was not promoting fuel-switching. Less than a year after McCarthy’s solemn promise, however, the following sentence appears on page 19 of Obama’s Climate Action Plan: “Going forward, we will promote fuel-switching from coal to gas for electricity production and encourage the development for a global market for gas.” 

Dr. Cohen points out: “While natural gas extracted from America’s vast shale formations will be able to fill some of the gap, the elimination of coal as a power source will put huge strains on the already weak economy and on household budgets.” 

More importantly, as Dr. Cohen warns, the enthusiasm for natural gas expressed by many greenies is a cynical ploy, intended to ease the demise of coal. But once coal is shut down, the greens will turn their sights on gas and oil. Cohen writes: 

And what is to keep the war on coal from morphing into a war on gas? While most Americans welcome the jobs and lower power rates the Shale Revolution has made possible, the Obama administration and its allies in the environmental movement remain firm in their hostility to fossil fuels. After coal has been regulated out of existence, green elites will not hesitate to go after natural gas and oil. EPA bureaucrats and Obama administration political appointees are already devising schemes to bring about federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking. 

Congress Is the Key

As The New American has reported previously (“Obama Eyes ‘Executive Orders’ to Circumvent Congress”), President Obama is pursuing a path of rule by executive fiat, relegating Congress to irrelevancy. He has shown by word and deed that he intends to implement his agenda by executive orders and agency rule-making, disregarding all constitutional constraints.

Between January of this year and the August recess, Congress enacted 22 laws. By contrast, the federal government’s website for information on the non-stop avalanche of federal rules and regulations, informs us that unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats have posted thousands of new rules and regulations — in just the past 90 days! According to http://www.regulations.gov (as posted on August 8), the following onslaught is currently in the pipeline: 

Today (104)

Last 3 Days (270)

Last 7 Days (493)

Last 15 Days (1,065)

Last 30 Days (2,155)

Last 90 Days (6,571) 

It is worthwhile to pause to reflect on those figures for a moment or two. In a little over seven months, Congress passed 22 pieces of legislation. Meanwhile, federal bureaucrats saddled the country with 6,571 regulations, rules, interpretations, and administrative dicta — in just 90 days! The Obama administration’s war on coal is but one front, albeit a major one, in an all-out revolutionary assault on the rule of law, that is transforming what remains of our constitutional republic into a dictatorship. 

The Unconstitutional Fourth Branch of Government

As we noted last year in “Danger: Federal ‘Regulatory Cliff’ Ahead”

The very first sentence of Article I, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution states: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” It is difficult to get more plain and definitive than that: “All legislative powers.” Congress is the legislative branch, and it possesses “all legislative powers.” The executive and judicial branches have their own peculiar jurisdictions and purviews, but their powers do not include lawmaking. Nor does the Constitution allow the Congress to sublet or delegate its lawmaking authority to the president, bureaucrats, or judges. Moreover, Congress has only those legislative powers “herein granted,” which means, of course, that Congress may not legislate on whatever its members may wish, but only regarding those particular matters granted by the states in the Constitution.

Nevertheless, Congress (and the American people, whose duty it is to vigilantly monitor Congress) has allowed the executive branch to stealthily, steadily build an enormous fourth branch of government — the federal regulatory leviathan — that has usurped legislative, executive, and judicial powers. According to our Founders, this is “the very definition of tyranny.” 

James Madison, frequently referred to as the “Father of the Constitution,” addressed this issue in essay No. 47 of The Federalist, noting: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

Constitutionalists who are determined to stop America’s devolution into administrative tyranny should avail themselves of the opportunity to press members of Congress while they are home on recess to stop the administration’s usurpation of powers through regulation. Ultimately, citizen activists must convince Congress to abolish the unconstitutional agencies that threaten our continued existence as a free people.

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