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Twitter dodges election-meddling complaint over suppressing ‘unsubstantiated’ Hunter Biden laptop story

RT | September 14, 2021

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has reportedly rejected a Republican complaint claiming Twitter gave Democrats an in-kind contribution by blocking a New York Post story about Joe Biden’s son Hunter ahead of the 2020 vote.

The New York Times, which broke the news of the FEC decision on Monday, editorialized by describing the story as “unsubstantiated.” The commission has yet to officially publish the ruling or any explanations.

Twitter executives “credibly explained” that they had commercial reasons for blocking the distribution of an article revealing the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop and its contents, and had not coordinated with his father’s presidential campaign to do so, according to the Times. The decision “provides further flexibility to social media giants like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat to control what is shared on their platforms regarding federal elections,” the paper opined.

The Republican National Committee, which had accused Twitter of making a de facto contribution to the Democrats by banning the distribution of the article, said it was “weighing its options for appealing this disappointing decision.”

Editorializing by the Times was met with derision from commenters across the political spectrum, who pointed out that the Biden laptop had been confirmed as authentic. After the election, Hunter himself said it “could have been” his, and admitted to “losing” another.

“[We]’ve all seen the videos from the laptop of him smoking crack with our own eyes,” tweeted Donald Trump Junior. “This is why the corporate media has lost all credibility.”

“The only ‘unsubstantiated article’ that was circulating on Twitter at the time was the one from Politico declaring Hunter Biden’s laptop was ‘Russian disinformation’,” Fox News media reporter Joseph Wulfsohn pointed out.

“We all remember when Twitter blocked every major media outlet from sharing unsubstantiated articles about Trump being a Russian asset/blackmail victim virtually every day for 3+ years,” noted the Grayzone’s Aaron Mate – sarcastically, because that never actually happened.

After the New York Post revealed the existence of a laptop Biden abandoned in a Delaware repair shop, and quoted some emails from it suggesting he was trading on the family name overseas, Twitter first blocked the story from being shared under its newly established “hacked materials” policy, then locked the Post’s account. The lockout lasted for over two weeks and was only lifted a few days before the election.

The Biden campaign responded to the story by calling it “Russian disinformation,” citing a letter by former intelligence officials – the same ones behind the original ‘Russiagate’ assessment – and denying the laptop’s authenticity.

Twitter appears to have used stories about a “hacker” threat, seeded by the FBI, to justify their reaction. According to the Times, the company told the FEC they had “received official warnings throughout 2020 from federal law enforcement that ‘malign state actors’ might hack and release materials associated with political campaigns and that Hunter Biden might be a target of one such operation.”

At least four FEC commissioners had to have voted to reject the RNC complaint. While it is currently chaired by a Democrat, three of the commissioners are Republicans appointed by President Donald Trump, and one is an independent appointed by President George W. Bush.

September 14, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: “Unanswered Questions: What the September Eleventh Families Asked and the 9/11 Commission Ignored”

Review by Edward Curtin | September 10, 2021

It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of this book. It is a tour de force that blows away twenty years of U.S. government lies and obfuscations about the mass murders of September 11, 2001, the foundational event of recent times that claimed thousands of victims whose relatives still cry out for truth and justice.

Reading Unanswered Questions will roil you to the depths of your soul and illuminate your mind as author Ray McGinnis presents fact after fact backed up by almost one thousand endnotes and twelve years of meticulous research. There is nothing speculative about this book. It is not a “conspiracy theory.”

McGinnis ingeniously and brilliantly documents those murders through the eyes of victims’ relatives and their decades-long, agonizing efforts to seek honest answers from the U.S. government. To have their simple and obvious questions answered. To know the truth about why their loved ones died and who killed them.

Their struggles have been met with cruel indifference from four presidents (Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden), three New York City mayors (Giuliani, Bloomberg, and de Blasio), the 9/11 Commission, and so many others in positions of authority who have turned deaf ears to their cris de coeur.  The corporate mass media have rubbed salt in their wounds as they have stage-managed the lies and coverups. And controlled opposition operatives have played slick games to direct attention away from the heart of the matter.

The families’ search for answers to their questions have been either ignored or answered with lies and dissimulation piled upon dissimulation to protect the guilty. McGinnis is their champion. He insists on answers.

He powerfully unfurls layer upon layer of facts and the government’s fictions in a timeline that brings us to the twentieth anniversary of these atrocities. While reading it, one cannot help but think of the thousands of innocent victims of that terrible day and their suffering families, and the millions of innocent victims throughout the world who have been murdered by the U.S. government in the name of 9/11. The “war on terror” has been waged by a government that continues to refuse to tell the truth about who the “terrorists” were on September 11, 2001.

By refusing to answer the families’ questions and thereby hypothetically claiming the Fifth Amendment for fear of incriminating themselves, government officials have ironically incriminated themselves.

For McGinnis is like a prosecuting attorney who works not for the state but for the people.  He forces the issue by asking the questions his clients want answered. Like them, he is persistent and requests answers to a litany of interrogations that are met with silence. The government’s stonewalling is deafening, and readers – who are the jury – are left to decide the case partially based on those non-answers, often justified under the sham of “national security” or just plain arrogance.  When answers are forthcoming, they are incomplete and disingenuous.

Seventy per cent of the questions the Family Steering Committee asked the 9/11 Commission were left unanswered in The 9/11 Commission Report. Those that were answered raised more questions than they answered.

But the reason that this book is so powerful is because McGinnis answers the questions that the government does not. And so his title – Unanswered Questions – is ironically false while also being true.

This should in no way put off those who still cling to the official story. For McGinnis is exceedingly fair in assessing and presenting the facts and readily admits when there are disagreements.

While focusing on a core group of bereaved families called The Family Steering Committee who are insistent on answers, a group that includes four New Jersey widows known as “The Jersey Girls” whose husbands died in the Twin Towers, he includes many others and does not shy away from saying when they are at odds. The only way a fair-minded person can assess the book is to read it. And if you don’t read it and you have bought the government’s official fabrications or are still sitting on the fence, you are in flight from truth.  This book demands attention.

As far as I know, while there have been many excellent books critiquing the government’s account of 9/11, led by about a dozen extraordinary works by David Ray Griffin, and many books supporting the government’s explanation led by The 9/11 Commission ReportUnanswered Questions is the first to approach the subject from the perspective of the questions asked by the relatives of the victims.

For many people, the murders of that day are abstract, although they naturally stir the human emotions of pity, fear, and terror. But from a distance, for they are now fading into history and are not personal. For some, there may have been a catharsis with The 9/11 Commission Report which they no doubt never read although it was said to be a “best-seller.” That would be fake catharsis, for such fiction fails to tell the truth since it was written by people blind in mind and ears as well as in their eyes. But then again, who reads Sophocles or Aeschylus any longer? Better to read The New York TimesSlate magazine, TimeThe New RepublicThe Nation, etc., all of which effusively praised the 9/11 Commission Report when it was released. As McGinnis reports, “The New York Times called the Report ‘an uncommonly lucid, even riveting narrative’ and an ‘improbable literary triumph.’” This is simply propaganda.

But let us take a look inside Unanswered Questions, a genuine non-fiction book motivated by a deep compassion for the victims and a scholar’s dedication to the truth. It is divided into four parts, each containing multiple chapters.

“Part One: From Grief to Advocacy” is the briefest and introduces the reader to firefighters, first responders, and family members who lost loved ones in the calamity. We learn how their grief turned to advocacy when they formed many groups to channel their energies. We learn how President Bush and his minions (or was Bush the minion and others like Cheney in charge?) opposed establishing a special commission to probe into the events of September Eleventh and how when his opposition was overcome he had the audacity to try to name Henry Kissinger to head the 9/11 Commission and how this was stopped. Finally, McGinnis tells us how the families’ questions were greatly expanded after discovering Paul Thompson’s extraordinary Internet timeline with its vast numbers of links to news reports that was later published as The Terror Timeline.

“Part Two: Family Steering Committee Statements to the 9/11 Commission” examines how the 9/11 Commission was a setup from the start, not even close to being an impartial investigation. It began with the naming of Philip Zelikow as the Director. Zelikow had deep ties to the Bush administration and its neocons. He had been a member of Bush’s transition team. Even “Richard Clarke, chairman of the ‘Counterterrorism Security Group,’ said ‘the fix is in’” when Zelikow was appointed. Zelikow completely controlled the investigation and the final report despite many conflicts of interest. He essentially wrote the report before the hearings commenced. He had authored a book with Condoleezza Rice and was an advocate for preemptive war that was used to attack Iraq in early 2003, etc. His appointment was a sick joke, and the Family Steering Committee called for his immediate resignation but was rebuffed just as quickly by Chairman Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton. As a result, the final report ended being a fictional account authored by Zelikow (who has now been named to head a Covid-19 commission).

This section also covers the lies told by Mayor Rudy Giuliani when he testified. Three hundred and forty-three FDNY members were killed that day, heroes who didn’t have to die. Giuliani’s testimony so outraged the families of first responders that their fury was uncontained. McGinnis tells us:

They held up signs that read ‘lies’ and ‘liar.’ Family Steering Committee member Sally Regenhard held up a sign that read ‘FICTION.’ She hollered, ‘My son [Christian Regenhard, a probationary firefighter] was not told to get out! He would’ve gotten out! My son was murdered, murdered because of your incompetence and radios that didn’t work!

McGinnis captures the increasing anger felt by family members throughout this section as the final report was rammed through despite their protests.

“Part Three: The Family Steering Committee’s Unanswered Questions” is the heart of the book. It contains eleven chapters devoted to questions addressed to NORAD, the FAA, the CIA/SEC/FBI, Mayor Giuliani, President Bush, the Port Authority/WTC/City of New York, Vice President Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld but never answered. Over a thousand questions were posed to the 9/11 Commission to aid the investigation. McGinnis writes:

The questions were intended to direct the focus of the inquiry, and ask those most directly involved what led to the failures that day. They understood that it would not be the FSC members themselves asking the questions. Instead, they would be posed to witnesses by 9/11 commissioners in public hearings, or asked by Commission staff behind closed-door proceedings.

Some of these questions were directed at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). One question the FSC asked the 9/11 Commission was: ‘Why weren’t NORAD jets able to intercept the hijacked planes if they were airborne within eight minutes of notification?’

NORAD had an extremely successful history of intercepting errant aircraft, and a part of their mission was “surveillance and control of the [domestic] territorial airspace “ in the U.S. and Canada. Nevertheless, on September 11, 2001 none of the hijacked aircraft were intercepted even though they were allegedly being flown by inexperienced and incompetent hijackers who, according to experts, could never fly such massive commercial airliners into the World Trade Towers or the Pentagon. Government witnesses either lied about the systemic failures to intercept the planes, omitted important details, or gave contradictory stories. Of course, they were then promoted. And although there was an unprecedented number of war games being “coincidentally” held on September 11, none of the 9/11 Commissioners asked any witnesses about them.

It was clear that all the questions about the failure to intercept the planes would not be answered, but McGinnis makes it obvious that their non-answers were indeed answers by omission, for in this section and all the others, he makes sure the questions are indeed answered and the cumulative effect is devastating. He does this not simply by expressing his own opinions but by quoting others and always giving sources.

In a similar vein, the FSC wished to know from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) why these hijacked planes were able to evade all of the highly sophisticated radar?  McGinnis says, “The 9/11 Commission concluded that NORAD had failed to do its job on September Eleventh; NORAD’s decisions impaired the FAA radar operator’s conduct.” Of course the radar questions were linked to the war games issue and since the war games questions were never asked, these massive failures were explained away in gobbledygook worthy of the Three Stooges.

Mindy Kleinberg, a FSC member whose husband Alan died in the North Tower, told the Commission that its theory of luck was bullshit, although she phrased it more diplomatically:

With regard to the 9/11 attacks, it has been said that the intelligence agencies have to be right 100% of the time and the terrorists only have to get lucky once. This explanation for the devastating attacks of September 11, simply on its face, is wrong in its value. Because the 9/11 terrorists were not just lucky once; they were lucky over and over again… Is it luck that aberrant stock trades were not monitored? Is it luck when 15 visas were awarded on incomplete forms? Is it luck when Airline Security screenings allow hijackers to board planes with box cutters and pepper spray? Is it luck when emergency FAA and NORAD protocols are not followed? Is it luck when a national emergency is not reported to top government officials on a timely basis? To me luck is something that happens once. When you have this repeated pattern of broken protocols, broken laws, broken communication, one cannot still call it luck.

Comically, The 9/11 Commission Report concluded that, as McGinnis notes, “The reason for the attacks was due simply to a [U.S. government] failure of imagination.”

In regard to foreknowledge of the attacks, the families asked the CIA, the SEC, and the FBI for the names of the individuals and financial institutions who placed “put” orders on American and United Airlines in the three weeks prior to 9/11.

This involved the number three man at the CIA, CIA Executive Director Alvin “Buzzy” Krongard, former Vice Chairman of the board at Bankers Trust that had been acquired by Deutsche Bank through which many of these suspect stock trades passed. This insider trading that anticipated the 9/11 attacks was connected to a security firm named Stratesec that provided security to Dulles Airport, the World Trade Center, and United Airlines, and to Wirt Walker III, a business partner of the president’s brother, Marvin Bush. Walker III was a board member of the Carlyle Group that was in turn connected to the bin Laden and Bush families.

Despite these and other highly suspect connections, the “9/11 Commission wasn’t interested in exploring leads about possible foreknowledge of the attacks.” Nor were they interested in the strange matter of Larry Silverstein, who had already owned World Trade Center Building 7, but who obtained a 99-year lease on the Twin Towers two months before the attack and who insisted that insurance cover a terrorist attack for $3.5. billion dollars. Silverstein was later awarded $4.55 billion when it was determined that there had been two suicide attacks.

Silverstein later claimed that there was agreement to “pull” (a controlled demolition term) Building 7, which happened at 5:20 PM that day despite never having been hit by a plane. Questions about the collapse of Building 7 were of course never answered, but the videos of its collapse are available for all to see with their own eyes. An excellent film about Building 7, Seven by Dylan Avery, should be seen by all. Seeing is believing, and what any objective observer can only conclude is that the building was taken down by controlled demolition, which the government denies.

Which brings us to other key questions that the FSC asked, McGinnis explores, and that went unanswered: Why did President Bush enter a Sarasota, Florida elementary classroom, stay there as the attacks unfolded, and not immediately return to Washington, D.C.? Why did he enter that classroom at 9:03 AM and remain there for fifteen minutes when it was clear the U.S. was under a terrorist attack? Why was he, unlike Dick Cheney, not immediately taken out of the building by the Secret Service but was allowed to sit and read to children and not depart the building until 9:34 A.M.?

“The vice president was reported by President Bush’s personal secretary as being ‘seized by arms, legs, and his belt and physically’ carried out of his office at 9:03 A.M. Cheney was taken to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center below the White House, where Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta saw him prior to 9:25 A.M.” Yet Bush stayed to read a book when colleagues of the Secret Service agents protecting him had already been evacuated from the largest Secret Service Field Office in WTC 7.

“However,” writes McGinnis, “on December 4, 2001, President Bush made the following statement at a Town Hall meeting about the moment – 9:01 a.m. – that he said he learned about the attack. ‘And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower – the television was obviously on, and I used to fly myself, and I said, “That’s one terrible pilot.” And I said, “It must have been a horrible accident.” But I was whisked off there – I didn’t have much time to think about it.’”

You can’t make this stuff up, yet it’s offered to the public and the victims’ families as acceptable. Bush was informed that a second plane had hit the South Tower by Andrew Card who came into the classroom and whispered in his ear. But three months later he claims he saw on television the first plane hit the North Tower when no one could have seen it since video of the first plane hitting the building at 8:46 A.M. was not available until much later.

These ridiculous discrepancies and other questions the FSC wished the 9/11 Commission to ask Bush under oath in sworn public testimony went unasked and unanswered.  Instead, as McGinnis writes:

But, the meeting with Bush and Cheney took place in secret on April 29, 2004. It was not held under oath. No transcript was made available of their conversation with the commissioners. Nothing was learned about why the president remained at an elementary school during the attacks. Nothing was learned about what the president knew regarding foreign intelligence agencies forewarning the U.S. Nothing was learned about why the president had authorized America to prepare for war against Afghanistan in the days and weeks prior to the attacks of September 11.

Nor was anything learned about why Pentagon brass suddenly cancelled flights scheduled for September 11.  Nothing about who warned them and why.

Essentially all the key questions the families asked were not answered. But McGinnis answers them, including those addressed to Cheney, Rumsfeld, Giuliani, the CIA, and the Port Authority/WTC/City of New York. By using the documented records against them, he does the job the 9/11 Commission refused to do. He unravels the lies, circumlocutions, and straightforward propaganda used to hide the truth, including the following:

  • Cheney’s deceptions about when he got to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center and what he was doing there and his orders to his young assistant about the hijacked plane headed toward the capitol.
  • Rumsfeld with his lies about not knowing anything about the World Trade Center attacks until fifteen minutes before the Pentagon was hit and why the Pentagon was not defended.
  • Giuliani and the obvious controlled demolition of Building 7 at 5:20 P.M. and the lies about the faulty telephones the firefighters carried.

Since this is not meant to be a book about a book but a book review, I will stop there. I would be remiss, however, if I failed to mention “Chapter 22: The Missing Accounts: FDNY.”

It is part of Part Four: Acceptance And Dissent that leads to McGinnis’s conclusion. Whatever one’s position on the events of September 11, it is generally accepted that firefighters and first responders are objective and brave in the extreme. Of the emergency workers who responded to the call to help save the people in the Twin Towers, the vast majority who lost their lives in attempting to save their fellow human beings were firefighters – 343 of them perished that day. They were doing their duty. So their surviving colleagues’ testimonies are priceless and beyond dispute. They had absolutely no reasons to lie. McGinnis tells us:

On September 11, 2001, Thomas Von Essen, the fire commissioner of New York City, ordered that oral histories be gathered from first responders, firefighters, and medical workers. He wanted to preserve the accounts of what they experienced at the World Trade Center. In the weeks and months following 9/11, 503 oral histories were taken. However, they were not released to the public. The 2002 mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, refused.

The Family Steering Committee asked the 9/11 Commission why, but the Commission refused to answer their question. After a law suit, the oral histories that run to 12,000 pages were released. They contain copious accounts of explosions going off in the Towers before the Towers collapsed.

FDNY firefighter John Coyne, who was in the South Tower, recalls how he had called his father and said:

I finally got through to my father and said ‘I’m alive. I just wanted to tell you, go to church, I’m alive. I just so narrowly escaped this thing.’ He said, ‘Where were you? You were there?’ I said, ‘Yeh, I was right there when it blew up.’ He said, ‘You were there when the planes hit?’ I said, ‘No, I was there when it exploded, the building exploded.’ He said, ‘You mean when it fell down?’ I said, ‘No, when it exploded.’ … I totally thought it had been blown up. That’s just the perspective of looking at it, it seemed to have exploded out.

Captain Karin DeShore, who was standing outside, said she saw a sequence of orange and red flashes coming from the North Tower:

Initially it was just one flash. Then this flash…kept popping all around the building and that building started to explode … These popping sounds and the explosions were getting bigger, going up and down and the all around the building.

Keith Murphy: “There was tremendous damage in the lobby… like something had exploded out… a distant boom sounded like three explosions.”

Assistant Commissioner Stephen Gregory: “I saw low-level flashes… [at] the lower level of the building. You know when they demolish a building?”

Explosions were being reported everywhere and by reporters as well. Researchers Graeme MacQueen and Ted Walter viewed 70 hours of television coverage and found that most reporters were saying the Towers came down as a result of explosions and demolition. Take a look here.

There were explosions reported in the sub-basements before the planes hit. William Rodriguez, who was in the sub-basement of the North Tower and heard and felt very loud multiple explosions, told this to 9/11 Commission staff and this never appeared in The 9/11 Commission Report.

The evidence for explosives planted in the Towers and Building 7 is overwhelming but was completely discounted by the 9/11 Commission and the mass media complicit in its coverup. In fact, the demolition of Building 7 at 5:20 P.M was not worthy of a mention in the best-selling report. It should be obvious to any objective thinker that if these building were wired for explosives and were brought down via controlled demolition, then this could not have been done by Osama bin Laden or his followers but only by insiders who were granted secret access to these ultra-high security buildings.

Bob McIlvaine, whose son Bobby died in the North Tower, has persevered for twenty years to expose the lies surrounding September 11. McGinnis reports on his 2006 interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation host Evan Solomon:

I believe 100% that the US orchestrated 9/11 with the help of other agencies around the world… There’s people within the US that knew it happened, that planned this to happen.

To Solomon’s question “You think your son was therefore murdered by Americans?” McIlvaine replied, “absolutely.”

He is joined by many others, including Matt Campbell, a British citizen and family member, whose brother Geoff Campbell died on the 106th floor of the North Tower. Matt Campbell and his family have recently demanded a new inquest based on a 3,000 page scientifically-backed dossier claiming the buildings were blown up from within.

After reading Unanswered Questions, you very well might believe it too.

Learning about the determination of such stalwart souls as McIlvaine, Campbell, the FSC, and so many others to extract truth and justice from a recalcitrant and guilty government is inspirational. They will never give up. Nor should we.

There is no doubt that this extraordinary book will answer many questions you may or may not have had about the mass murders of September 11, 2001.

So don’t turn away.

It will break your heart but restore your faith in what a writer dedicated to the truth can do for those family members who have so long sought the bread of truth and were handed stones of silence.

In their ongoing grief, Ray McGinnis has handed them the gift of a bitter solace. He has answered them.

He has also given the public an opportunity to see the truth and demand an independent investigation forthwith.

September 11, 2021 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks?

By Christopher Ketcham | Counterpunch | March 1, 2007
  • Who Were the Israelis Living Next to Mohammed Atta?
  • What was in the Van on the New Jersey Shore?
  • How did Two Hijackers Land on Watch List Weeks Before 9/11?
  • Who Shut Down Fox News’ Carl Cameron?

On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, an FBI bulletin known as a BOLO – “be on lookout” – was issued with regard to three suspicious men who that morning were seen leaving the New Jersey waterfront minutes after the first plane hit World Trade Center 1. Law enforcement officers across the New York-New Jersey area were warned in the radio dispatch to watch for a “vehicle possibly related to New York terrorist attack”:

White, 2000 Chevrolet van… with ‘Urban Moving Systems’ sign on back seen at Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ, at the time of first impact of jetliner into World Trade Center… Three individuals with van were seen celebrating after initial impact and subsequent explosion. FBI Newark Field Office requests that, if the van is located, hold for prints and detain individuals.

At 3:56 p.m., twenty-five minutes after the issuance of the FBI BOLO, officers with the East Rutherford Police Department stopped the commercial moving van through a trace on the plates. According to the police report, Officer Scott DeCarlo and Sgt. Dennis Rivelli approached the stopped van, demanding that the driver exit the vehicle. The driver, 23-year-old Sivan Kurz­berg, refused and “was asked several more times [but] appeared to be fumbling with a black leather fanny pouch type of bag”. With guns drawn, the police then “physi­cally removed” Kurz­berg, while four other men – two more men had apparently joined the group since the morning – were also removed from the van, handcuffed, placed on the grass median and read their Miranda rights. They had not been told the reasons for their arrest. Yet, according to DeCarlo’s report, “this officer was told without question by the driver [Sivan Kurzberg], ‘We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.’” Another of the five Israelis, again without prompting, told Officer DeCarlo – falsely – that “we were on the West Side Highway in New York City during the incident”.

From inside the vehicle the officers, who were quickly joined by agents from the FBI, retrieved multiple passports and $4,700 in cash stuffed in a sock. According to New Jersey’s Bergen Record, which on September 12 reported the arrest of the five Israelis, an investigator high up in the Bergen County law enforcement hierarchy stated that officers had also discovered in the vehicle “maps of the city … with certain places highlighted. It looked like they’re hooked in with this”, the source told the Record, referring to the 9/11 attacks. “It looked like they knew what was going to happen when they were at Liberty State Park.”

The five men were indeed Israeli citizens. They claimed to be in the country working as movers for Urban Moving Systems Inc., which maintained a warehouse and office in Weehawken, New Jersey. They were held for 71 days in a federal detention center in Brooklyn, New York, during which time they were repeatedly interrogated by FBI and CIA counterterrorism teams, who referred to the men as the “high-fivers” for their celebratory behavior on the New Jersey waterfront. Some were placed in solitary confinement for at least forty days; some were given as many as seven liedetector tests. One of the Israelis, Paul Kurzberg, brother of Sivan, refused to take a lie-detector test for ten weeks. Then he failed it.

Meanwhile, two days after the men were picked up, the owner of Urban Moving Systems, Dominik Suter, a 31- year-old Israeli national, abandoned his business and fled the United States for Israel. Suter’s departure was abrupt, leaving behind coffee cups, sandwiches, cell phones and computers strewn on office tables and thousands of dollars of goods in storage. Suter was later placed on the same FBI suspect list as 9/11 lead hijacker Mohammed Atta and other hijackers and suspected al-Qaeda sympathizers, suggesting that U.S. authorities felt Suter may have known something about the attacks. The suspicion, as the in­­vestigation unfolded, was that the men working for Urban Moving Systems were spies. Who exactly was handling them, and who or what they were targeting, was as yet uncertain.

It was New York’s venerable Jewish weekly The Forward that broke this story in the spring of 2002, after months of footwork. The Forward reported that the FBI had finally concluded that at least two of the men were agents working for the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, and that Urban Moving Systems, the ostensible employer of the five Israelis, was a front operation. Two former CIA officers confirmed this to me, noting that movers’ vans are a common intelligence cover. The Forward also noted that the Israeli government itself admitted that the men were spies. A “former high-ranking American in­tel­ligence official”, who said he was “regularly briefed on the inves­tigation by two separate law enforcement officials”, told reporter Marc Perelman that after American authorities confronted Jeru­salem at the end of 2001, the Israeli government “acknowledged the operation and apologized for not coordinating it with Wash­ington”. Today, Perelman stands by his reporting. I asked him if his sources in the Mossad denied the story. “Nobody stopped talking to me”, he said. In June 2002, ABC News’ 20/20 followed up with its own investigation into the matter, coming to the same conclusion as The Forward. Vincent Cannistraro, former chief of operations for counterterrorism with the CIA, told 20/20 that some of the names of the five men appeared as hits in searches of an FBI national intelligence database. Cannistraro told me that the question that most troubled FBI agents in the weeks and months after 9/11 was whether the Israelis had arrived at the site of their “celebration” with foreknowledge of the attack to come. From the beginning, “the FBI investigation operated on the premise that the Israelis had foreknowledge”, according to Cannistraro. A second former CIA counterterrorism officer who closely followed the case, but who spoke on condition of anonymity, told me that investigators were pursuing two theories. “One story was that [the Israelis] appeared at Liberty State Park very quickly after the first plane hit. The other was that they were at the park location already”. Either way, investigators wanted to know exactly what the men were expecting when they got there.

Before such issues had been fully explored, however, the in­­vestigation was shut down. Following what ABC News reported were “high-level negotiations between Israeli and U.S. government officials”, a settlement was reached in the case of the five Urban Moving Systems suspects. Intense political pressure apparently had been brought to bear. The reputable Is­­raeli daily Ha’aretz reported that by the last week of October 2001,some six weeks after the men had been detained, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and two unidentified “prominent New York congressmen” were lobbying heavily for their release. Ac­­cording to a source at ABC News close to the 20/20 report, high-profile criminal lawyer Alan Der­showitz also stepped in as a negotiator on behalf of the men to smooth out differences with the U.S. government. (Dershowitz declined to comment for this article.) And so, at the end of No­­vem­ber 2001, for reasons that only noted they had been working in the country illegally as movers, in violation of their visas, the men were flown home to Israel.

Today, the crucial questions raised by this matter remain un­­answered. There is sufficient reason – from news reports, statements by former intelligence officials, an array of circumstantial evidence, and the reported acknowledgment by the Israeli government – to believe that in the months before 9/11, Israel was running an active spy network inside the United States, with Muslim extremists as the target. Given Israel’s concerns about Islamic terrorism as well as its long history of spying on U.S. soil, this does not come entirely as a shock. What’s incendiary is the idea – supported, though not proven, by several pieces of evidence – that the Israelis did learn something about 9/11 in advance but failed to share all of what they knew with American officials. The questions are disturbing enough to warrant a Congressional investigation.

Yet none of this information found its way into Congress’s joint committee report on the attacks, and it was not even tangentially referenced in the nearly 600 pages of the 9/11 Com­mission’s final report. Nor would a single major media outlet track the revelations of The Forward and ABC News to investigate further. “There weren’t even stories saying it was bullshit”, says The Forward’s Perelman. “Honestly, I was surprised”. In­­stead, the story disappeared into the welter of anti-Israel 9/11 conspiracy theories.

It’s no small boon to the U.S. government that the story of 9/11-related Israeli espionage has been thus relegated: the story doesn’t fit in the clean lines of the official narrative of the attacks. It brings up concerns not only about Israel’s obligation not to spy inside the borders of the United States, its major benefactor, but about its possible failure to have provided the U.S. adequate warning of an impending devastating attack on American soil.

Furthermore, the available evidence undermines the carefully cultivated image of sanctity that defines the U.S.- Israel relationship. These are all factors that help explain the story’s disappearance – and they are compelling reasons to revisit it now.

Torpedoing the FBI Probe

All five future hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77, which rammed the Pentagon, maintained addresses or were active within a six-mile radius of towns associated with the Israelis employed at Urban Moving Systems. Hudson and Bergen counties, the areas where the Israelis were allegedly conducting surveillance, were a central staging ground for the hijackers of Flight 77 and their fellow al-Qaeda operatives. Mohammed Atta maintained a mail-drop address and visited friends in northern New Jersey; his contacts there included Hani Hanjour, the suicide pilot for Flight 77, and Majed Moqed, one of the strongmen who backed Hanjour in the seizing of the plane. Could the Israelis, with or without knowledge of the terrorists’ plans, have been tracking the men who were soon to hijack Flight 77?

In public statements, both the Israeli government and the FBI have denied that the Urban Moving Systems men were involved in an intelligence operation in the United States. “No evidence recovered suggested any of these Israelis had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attack, and these Israelis are not suspected of working for Mos­sad”, FBI spokesman Jim Margolin told me. (The Israeli embassy did not respond to questions for this article.)

According to the source at ABC News, FBI investigators chafed at the denials from their higher-ups. “There is a lot of frustration inside the bureau about this case”, the source told me. “They feel the higher echelons torpedoed the investigation into the Israeli New Jersey cell. Leads were not fully investigated.” Among those lost leads was the figure of Dominik Suter, whom the U.S. authorities apparently never attempted to contact.

Intelligence expert and author James Bamford told me there was similar frustration within the CIA: “People I’ve talked to at the CIA were outraged at what was going on. They thought it was outrageous that there hadn’t been a real investigation, that the facts were hanging out there without any conclusion.”

However, what was “absolutely certain”, according to Vincent Cannistraro, was that the five Israelis formed part of a surveillance network in the New York – New Jersey area. The network’s purpose was to track radical Islamic extremists and/or supporters of militant Palestinian groups like Hamas and Is­­lamic Jihad. The former CIA counterterrorism officer who spoke anon­­y­mous­ly told me that FBI investigators determined that the sus­pect Israelis were serving as Arabic speaking linguists “running technical operations” in northern New Jersey’s extensive Muslim communities.

The former CIA officer said the operations in­­cluded taps on telephones, placement of microphones in rooms and mobile surveillance. The source at ABC News agreed: “Our conclusion was that they were Arab linguists involved in monitoring operations, i.e., electronic surveillance. People at FBI con­cur with this”. The ABC News source added, “What we heard was that the Israelis may have picked up chatter that something was going to happen on the morning of 9/11”. The former CIA counterterrorism officer told me: “There was no question but that [the order to close down the investigation] came from the White House. It was immediately assumed at CIA headquarters that this basically was going to be a cover-up so that the Israelis would not be implicated in any way in 9/11. Bear in mind that this was a political issue, not a law enforcement or intelligence issue. If somebody says we don’t want the Israelis implicated in this – we know that they’ve been spying the hell out of us, we know that they possibly had information in advance of the attacks, but this would be a political nightmare to deal with.”

Israel’s “Art Student Spies”

There is a second piece of evidence that suggests Israeli op­­eratives were spying on al-Qaeda in the United States. It is writ in the peculiar tale of the Israeli “art students”, detailed by this reporter for Salon.com in 2002, following the leaking of an internal memo circulated by the Drug Enforcement Ad­­min­is­tration’s Office of Security Programs. The June 2001 memo, issued three months before the 9/11 attacks, reported that more than 120 young Israeli citizens, posing as art students and peddling cheap paintings, had been repeatedly – and seeming­ly inexplicably – attempting to penetrate DEA offices and other law enforcement and Defense Department offices across the country. The DEA report stated that the Israelis may have been engaged in “an organized intelligence gathering activity”, but to what end, U.S. investigators, in June 2001, could not determine. The memo briefly floated the possibility that the Israelis were engaged in trafficking the drug ecstasy. According to the memo, “the most activity [was] reported in the state of Florida” during the first half of 2001, where the town of Hollywood appeared to be “a central point for these individuals with several having addresses in this area”.

In retrospect, the fact that a large number of “art students” operated out of Hollywood is intriguing, to say the least. During 2001, the city, just north of Miami, was a hotbed of al-Qaeda activity and served as one of the chief staging grounds for the hijacking of the World Trade Center planes and the Pennsylvania plane; it was home to fifteen of the nineteen future hijackers, nine in Hollywood and six in the surrounding area. Among the 120 suspected Israeli spies posing as art students, more than thirty lived in the Hollywood area, ten in Hollywood proper. As noted in the DEA report, many of these young men and women had training as intelligence and electronic inter­cept officers in the Israeli military – training and experience far beyond the compulsory service mandated by Israeli law. Their “traveling in the U.S. selling art seem[ed] not to fit their background”, according to the DEA report.

One “art student” was a former Israeli military intelligence officer named Hanan Serfaty, who rented two Hollywood apartments close to the mail drop and apartment of Mohammed Atta and four other hijackers. Serfaty was moving large amounts of cash: he carried bank slips showing more than $100,000 deposited from De­­cem­ber 2000 through the first quarter of 2001; other bank slips showed withdrawals for about $80,000 during the same period. Serfaty’s apartments, serving as crash pads for at least two other “art students”, were located at 4220 Sheridan Street and 701 South 21st Avenue. Lead hijacker Mohammed Atta’s mail drop was at 3389 Sheridan Street – approximately 2,700 feet from Ser­faty’s Sheridan Street apartment. Both Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, the suicide pilot on United Airlines Flight 175, which smashed into World Trade Center 2, lived in a rented apartment at 1818 Jackson Street, some 1,800 feet from Serfaty’s South 21st Avenue apartment.

In fact, an improbable series of coincidences emerges from a close reading of the 2001 DEA memo, the 9/11 Commission’s staff statements and final report, FBI and Justice Department watch lists, hijacker timelines compiled by major media and statements by local, state and federal law enforcement personnel. In at least six urban centers, suspected Israeli spies and 9/11 hijackers and/or al-Qaeda–connected suspects lived and operated near one another, in some cases less than half a mile apart, for various periods during 2000–01 in the run-up to the attacks. In addition to northern New Jersey and Holly­wood, Florida, these centers included Arlington and Fredericksburg, Virginia; Atlanta; Oklahoma City; Los Angeles; and San Diego.

Israeli “art students” also lived close to terror suspects in and around Dallas, Texas. A 25-year-old “art student” named Michael Calmanovic, arrested and questioned by Texas-based DEA officers in April 2001, maintained a mail drop at 3575 North Beltline Road, less than a thousand feet from the 4045 North Beltline Road apartment of Ahmed Khalefa, an FBI terror suspect. Dallas and its environs, especially the town of Richardson, Texas, throbbed with “art student” activity. Richardson is notable as the home of the Holy Land Foundation, an Islamic charity designated as a terrorist funder by the European Union and U.S. government in December 2001. Sources in 2002 told The Forward, in a report unrelated to the question of the “art students”, that “Israeli intelligence played a key role in helping the Bush administration to crack down on Islamic charities suspected of funneling money to terrorist groups, most notably the Richardson, Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, last December [2001]”. It’s plausible that the intelligence prompting the shutdown of the Holy Land Foundation came from “art student” spies in the Richardson area.

Others among the “art students” had specific backgrounds in electronic surveillance or military intelligence, or were associated with Israeli wiretapping and surveillance firms, which prompted further concerns among U.S. investigators. DEA agents described Michael Calmanovic, for example, as “a recently discharged electronic intercept operator for the Israeli military”. Lior Baram, questioned near Hollywood, Fla., in January 2001, said he had served two years in Israeli intelligence “working with classified information”. Hanan Serfaty, who maintained the Hollywood apartments near Atta and his cohorts, served in the Israeli military between the ages of 18 and 21. Serfaty refused to disclose his activities between the ages of 21 and 24, including his activities since arriving in the U.S.A. in 2000. The French daily Le Monde meanwhile reported that six “art students” were apparently using cell phones that had been purchased by a former Israeli vice consul in the U.S.A.

Suspected Israeli spy Tomer Ben Dor, questioned at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in May 2001, worked for the Israeli wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping company NICE Systems Ltd. (NICE Systems’ American subsidiary, NICE Systems Inc., is located in Rutherford, New Jersey, not far from the East Rutherford site where the five Israeli “movers” were arrested on the afternoon of September 11.) Ben Dor carried in his luggage a print-out of a computer file that referred to “DEA Groups”. How he acquired information about so-called “DEA Groups” – via, for example, his own employment with an Israeli wiretapping company – was never determined, according to DEA documents.

“Art student” Michal Gal, arrested by DEA investigators in Irving, Texas, in the spring of 2001, was released on a $10,000 cash bond posted by Ophir Baer, an employee of the Israeli telecommunications software company Amdocs Inc., which provides phone-billing technology to clients that include some of the largest phone companies in the United States as well as U.S. government agencies. Amdocs, whose executive board has been heavily stocked with retired and current members of the Israeli government and military, has been investigated at least twice in the last decade by U.S. authorities on charges of espionage-related leaks of data that the company assured was secure. (The company strenuously denies any wrong-doing.)

According to the former CIA counterterrorism officer with knowledge of investigations into 9/11-related Israeli espionage, when law enforcement officials examined the “art students” phe­nomenon, they came to the tentative conclusion that “the Israelis likely had a huge spy operation in the U.S. and that they had succeeded in identifying a number of the hijackers”. The German daily Die Zeit reached the same conclusion in 2002, reporting that “Mossad agents in the U.S. were in all probability surveilling at least four of the 19 hijackers”.

The Fox News Channel also reported that U.S. investigators suspected that Israelis were spying on Muslim militants in the United States. “There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in ad­­vance, and not shared it”, Fox correspondent Carl Cameron re­­ported in a December 2001 series that was the first major exposé of allegations of 9/11-related Israeli espionage. “A highly placed investigator said there are ‘tie-ins’. But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, ‘evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.’”

One element of the allegations has never been clearly understood: if the “art students” were indeed spies targeting Muslim extremists that included al-Qaeda, why would they also be surveilling DEA agents in such a compromising manner? Why, in other words, would foreign spies bumble into federal offices by the scores and risk exposing their operation? An explanation is that a number of the art students were, in fact, young Israelis engaged in a mere art scam and unknowingly provided cover for real spies. Investigative journalist John Sugg, who as senior editor for the Creative Loafing newspaper chain reported on the “art students” in 2002, told me that investigators he spoke to within FBI felt the “art student” ring functioned as a wide-ranging cover that was counterintuitive in its obviousness. DEA investigators, for example, uncovered evidence connecting the Israeli “art students” to known ecstasy trafficking operations in New York and Florida. This was, according to Sugg, planted information. “The explanation was that when our FBI guys started getting interested in these folks [the art students] – when they got too close to what the real purpose was – the Israelis threw in an ecstasy angle”, Sugg told me. “The argument being that if our guys thought the Israelis were involved in a smuggling ring, then they wouldn’t see the real purpose of the operation”. Sugg, who is writing a book that explores the tale of the “art students”, told me that several sources within the FBI, and at least one source formerly with Israeli intelligence, suggested that “the bumbling aspect of the art student thing was intentional.”

When I reported on the matter for Salon.com in 2002, a veteran U.S. intelligence operative with experience subcontracting both for the CIA and the NSA suggested a similar possibility. “It was a noisy operation”, the veteran intelligence operative said. The operative referred me to the film Victor, Victoria. “It was about a woman playing a man playing a woman. Perhaps you should think about this from that aspect and ask yourself if you wanted to have something that was in your face, that didn’t make sense, that couldn’t possibly be them”. The intelligence operative added, “Think of it this way: how could the experts think this could actually be something of any value? Wouldn’t they dismiss what they were seeing?”

U.S. and Israeli officials, dismissing charges of espionage as an “urban myth”, have publicly claimed that the Israeli “art students” were guilty only of working on U.S. soil without proper credentials. The stern denials issued by the Justice De­­part­ment were widely publicized in the Washington Post and elsewhere, and the endnote from officialdom and in establishment media by the spring of 2002 was that the “art students” had been rounded up and deported simply because of harmless visa violations. The FBI, for its part, refused to confirm or deny the “art students” espionage story. “Regarding FBI investigations into Israeli art students”, spokesman Jim Margolin told me, “the FBI cannot comment on any of those investigations.” As with the New Jersey Israelis, the investigation into the Israeli “art students” appears to have been halted by orders from on high. The veteran CIA/NSA intelligence operative told me in 2002 that there was “a great press to discredit the story, discredit the connections, prevent [investigators] from going any further. People were told to stand down. You name the agency, they were told to stand down”. The operative added, “People who were perceived to be gumshoes on [this matter] suddenly found themselves hammered from all different directions. The interest from the middle bureaucracy was not that there had been a security breach but that someone had bothered to investigate the breach. That was where the terror was”.

Choking Off the Press Coverage

There was similar pressure brought against the media venues that ventured to report out the allegations of 9/11- related Israeli espionage. A former ABC News employee high up in the network newsroom told me that when ABC News ran its June 2002 exposé on the celebratory New Jersey Israelis, “Enormous pressure was brought to bear by pro-Israeli organizations” – and this pressure began months before the piece was even close to airing. The source said that ABC News colleagues wondered, “how they [the pro-Israel organizations] found out we were doing the story. Pro-Israeli people were calling the president of ABC News. Barbara Walters was getting bombarded by calls. The story was a hard sell but ABC News came through – the management insulated [reporters] from the pressure”.

The experience of Carl Cameron, chief Washington correspondent at Fox News Channel and the first mainstream U.S. reporter to present the allegations of Israeli surveillance of the 9/11 hijackers, was perhaps more typical, both in its particulars and aftermath. The attack against Cameron and Fox News was spearheaded by a pro-Israel lobby group called the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), which operated in tandem with the two most highly visible powerhouse Israel lobbyists, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (itself currently embroiled in a spy scandal connected to the Defense Department and Israeli Embassy). “CAMERA peppered the shit out of us”, Carl Cameron told me in 2002, referring to an e-mail bombardment that eventually crashed the Fox News.com servers. Cameron himself received 700 pages of almost identical e-mail messages from hundreds of citizens (though he suspected these were spam identities). CAMERA spokesman Alex Safian later told me that Cameron’s upbringing in Iran, where his father traveled as an archeologist, had rendered the reporter “very sympathetic to the Arab side”. Safian added, “I think Cameron, personally, has a thing about Israel” – coded language implying that Cameron was an anti-Semite. Cameron was outraged at the accusation.

According to a source at Fox News Channel, the president of the ADL, Abraham Foxman, telephoned executives at Fox News’ parent, News Corp., to demand a sit-down in the wake of the Cameron reportage. The source said that Foxman told the News Corp. executives, “Look, you guys have generally been pretty fair to Israel. What are you doing putting this stuff out there? You’re killing us”. The Fox News source continued, “As good old boys will do over coffee in Manhattan, it was like, well, what can we do about this? Finally, Fox News said, ‘Stop the e-mailing. Stop slamming us. Stop being in our face, and we’ll stop being in your face – by way of taking our story down off the web. We will not retract it; we will not disavow it; we stand by it. But we will at least take it off the web.’” Following this meeting, within four days of the posting of Cameron’s series on Fox News.com, the transcripts disappeared, replaced by the message, “This story no longer exists”.

What Did Mossad Know and Tell the U.S.?

Whether or not Israeli spies had detailed foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, the Israeli authorities knew enough to warn the U.S. government in the summer of 2001 that an attack was on the horizon. The British Sunday Telegraph reported on September 16, 2001, that two senior agents with the Mossad were dispatched to Washington in August 2001 “to alert the CIA and FBI to the existence of a cell of as many as 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation”. The Telegraph quoted a “senior Israeli security official” as saying the Mossad experts had “no specific information about what was being planned”. Still, the offi­cial told the Telegraph, the Mossad contacts had “linked the plot to Osama bin Laden”. Likewise, Die Zeit correspondent Oli­ver Schröm reported that on August 23, 2001, the Mossad “hand­ed its American counterpart a list of names of terrorists who were staying in the U.S. and were presumably planning to launch an attack in the foreseeable future”. Fox News’ Carl Cameron, in May 2002, also reported warnings by Israel: “Based on its own intelligence, the Israeli government provided ‘general’ information to the United States in the second week of August that an al-Qaeda attack was imminent”. The U.S. government later claimed these warnings were not specific enough to allow any mitigating action to be taken. Mossad expert Gordon Thomas, author of Gideon’s Spies, says German intelligence sources told him that as late as August 2001 Israeli spies in the Unit­ed States had made surveillance contacts with “known supporters of bin Laden in the U.S.A. It was those surveillance contacts that later raised the question: how much prior knowledge did Mossad have and at what stage?”

According to Die Zeit, the Mossad did provide the U.S. government with the names of suspected terrorists Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, who would eventually hijack the Pentagon plane. It is worth noting that Mihdhar and Hazmi were among the hijackers who operated in close proximity to Israeli “art students” in Hollywood, Florida, and to the Urban Moving Systems Israelis in northern New Jersey. Moreover, Hazmi and at least three “art students” visited Oklahoma City on almost the same dates, from April 1 through April 4, 2001. On August 24, 2001, a day after the Mossad’s briefing, Mihdhar and Hazmi were placed by the CIA on a terrorist watch list; additionally, it was only after the Mossad warning, as reported by Die Zeit, that the CIA, on August 27, informed the FBI of the presence of the two terrorists. But by then the cell was already in hiding, preparing for attack.

The CIA, along with the 9/11 Commission in its adoption of the CIA story, claims that Mihdhar and Hazmi were placed on the watch list solely due to the agency’s own efforts, with no help from Mossad. Their explanation of how the pair came to be placed on the watch list, however, is far from credible and may have served as a cover story to obscure the Mossad briefing [See accompanying story on page 8 – “The Kuala Lumpur Deceit”]. This brings up the possibility that the CIA may have known about the existence of the alleged Israeli agents and their mission, but sought, naturally, to keep it quiet. A second, more troubling scenario, is that the CIA may have subcontracted to Mossad, given that the agency was both prohibited by law from conducting intelligence operations on U.S. soil, and lacked a pool of competent Arabic-fluent field officers. In such a scenario, the CIA would either have worked actively with the Israelis or quietly abetted an independent operation on U.S. soil. In his 9/11 investigative book, The Looming Tower, author Lawrence Wright notes that FBI counterterrorism agents, infuriated at the CIA’s failure to fully share information about Mihdhar and Hazmi, speculated that “the agency was shielding Mihdhar and Hazmi because it hoped to recruit them”. The two al-Qaeda men, Wright notes, “must have seemed like attractive opportunities; however, once they entered the United States they were the province of the FBI…” Wright further observes that the CIA’s reticence to share its information was due to a fear “that prosecutions resulting from specific intelligence might compromise its relationship with foreign services”

When in the spring of 2002 the scenario of CIA’s domestic subcontracting to foreign intelligence was posed to the veteran CIA/NSA intelligence operative, with whom I spoke extensively, the operative didn’t reject it out of hand. The operative noted that in recent years the CIA’s human intelligence assets, known as “humint” – spooks on the ground who conduct surveillances, make contacts, and infiltrate the enemy – had been “eviscerated” in favor of the NSA’s far less perilous “sigint”, or signals intelligence program, the remote interception of electronic communications. As a result, “U.S. intelligence finds itself going back to sources that you may not necessarily like to go back to, but are required to”, the veteran intelligence operative said. “We don’t like the fact, but our humint structures are gone. Israeli intel’s humint is as strong as ever. If you have an intel gap, those gaps are not closed overnight. It takes years and years of diligent work, a high degree of security, talented and dedicated people, willing management and a steady hand. It is not a fun business, and it’s certainly not one without its dangers. If you lose that capability, well… organizations find themselves having to make a pact with the devil. The problem [in U.S. intel] is very great”.

If such an understanding did exist between CIA and Mossad with regard to al-Qaeda’s U.S. operatives, the complicity would explain a number of oddities: it would explain the CIA’s nearly incoherent, and perhaps purposely deceptive, reconstruction of events as to how Mihdhar and Hazmi joined the watch list; it might even explain the apparent brazenness of the Israeli New Jersey cell celebrating on the morning of 9/11 (protected under the CIA wing, they were free to behave as they pleased). It would also explain the assertion in one of the leading Israeli dailies, Yedioth Ahronoth, that in the months prior to 9/11, when the Israeli “art students” were being identified and rounded up, the CIA “actively promoted their expulsion”. The implication in the Yedioth Ahronoth article was that the CIA was simply being careless, not trying to spirit the Israelis safely out of the country. At this point we cannot be certain.

Israeli spying against the U.S. is of course hotly denied by both governments. In 2002, responding to my own questions about the “art students”, Israeli embassy spokesman Mark Regev issued a blanket denial. “Israel does not spy on the United States”, Regev told me. The pronouncements from officialdom are strictly pro forma, as it is no secret that spying by Israel on the United States has been wide-ranging and unabashed. A 1996 General Accounting Office report, for example, found that Israel “conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any U.S. ally”. More recently, a former intelligence official told the Los Angeles Times in 2004 that “[t]here is a huge, aggressive, ongoing set of Israeli activities directed against the United States”. It is also routine that Israeli spying is ignored or downplayed by the U.S. government (the case of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, sentenced to life in prison in 1986, is a dramatic exception). According to the American Prospect, over the last 20 years at least six sealed indictments have been issued against individuals allegedly spying “on Israel’s behalf”, but the cases were resolved “through diplomatic and intelligence channels” rather than a public airing in the courts. Career Justice Department and intelligence officials who track Israeli espionage told the Prospect of “long-standing frustration among investigators and prosecutors who feel that cases that could have been made successfully against Israeli spies were never brought to trial, or that the investigations were shut down prematurely”.

The Questions That Await Answers

Remarkably, the Urban Moving Systems Israelis, when interrogated by the FBI, explained their motives for “celebration” on the New Jersey waterfront – a celebration that consisted of cheering, smiling, shooting film with still and video cameras and, according to the FBI, “high-fiving” – in the Machia­vel­lian light of geopolitics. “Their explanation of why they were happy”, FBI spokesman Margolin told me, “was that the United States would now have to commit itself to fighting [Middle East] terrorism, that Americans would have an understanding and empathy for Israel’s circumstances, and that the attacks were ultimately a good thing for Israel”. When reporters on the morning of 9/11 asked former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the effect the attacks would have on IsraeliAmerican relations, he responded with a similar gut analysis: “It’s very good”, he remarked. Then he amended the statement: “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy [for Israel from Americans]”.

What is perhaps most damning is that the Israelis’ celebration on the New Jersey waterfront occurred in the first sixteen minutes after the initial crash, when no one was aware this was a terrorist attack. In other words, from the time the first plane hit the north tower, at 8:46 a.m., to the time the second plane hit the south tower, at 9:02 a.m., the overwhelming assumption of news outlets and government officials was that the plane’s impact was simply a terrible accident. It was only after the second plane hit that suspicions were aroused. Yet if the men were cheering for political reasons, as they reportedly told the FBI, they obviously believed they were witnessing a terrorist act, and not an accident.

After returning safely to Israel in the late autumn of 2001, three of the five New Jersey Israelis spoke on a national talk show that winter. Oded Ellner, who on the afternoon of September 11 had, like his compatriots, protested to arresting officer Sgt. Dennis Rivelli that “we’re Israeli”, admitted to the interviewer: “We are coming from a country that experiences terror daily. Our purpose was to document the event”. By his own admission, then, Ellner stood on the New Jersey waterfront documenting with film and video a terrorist act before anyone knew it was a terrorist act.

One obvious question among many comes to mind: If these men were trained as professional spies, why did they exhibit such outright oafishness at the moment of truth on the waterfront? The ABC network source close to the 20/20 report noted one of the more disturbing explanations proffered by counterintelligence investigators at the FBI: “The Israelis felt that in some way their intelligence had worked out – i.e., they were celebrating their own acumen and ability as intelligence agents”.

The questions abound: Did the Urban Moving Systems Israelis, ready to “document the event”, arrive at the waterfront before the first plane came in from the north? And if they arrived right after, why did they believe it was a terrorist attack? What about the strange tale of the “art students”? Could they have been mere hustlers, as they claimed, who ended up repeatedly crossing paths with federal agents and living next door to most of the 9/11 hijackers by coincidence? Did the Israeli authorities find out more about the impending attacks than they shared with their U.S. counterparts? Or did the Israeli spies on the ground only intercept vague chatter that, in their view, did not warrant breaking cover to share the information? On the other hand, did the U.S. government receive more advance information about the attacks from Israeli authorities than it is willing to admit? What about the 9/11 Commission’s eliding of reported Israeli warnings that may have led to the watchlisting of Mih­dhar and Hazmi? Were the Israeli warnings purposely washed from the historical record? Did the CIA know more about pre-9/11 Israeli spying than it has admitted?

The unfortunate fact is that the truth may never be uncovered, not by officialdom, and certainly not by a passive press. James Bamford, who in a coup of re­­port­­ing during the 1980s revealed the inner workings of the NSA in The Puzzle Palace, points to the “key problem”: “The Israelis were all sent out of the country”, he says. “There’s no nexus left. The FBI just can’t go knocking on doors in Israel. They need to work with the State Department. They need letters rogatory, where you ask a government of a foreign country to get answers from citizens in that country”. The Israeli government will not likely comply.

So any investigation “is now that much more com­pli­cated”, says Bamford. He recalls a story he produced for ABC News concern­ing two murder suspects – U.S. citizens – who fled to Israel and fought extradition for ten years. “The Israelis did nothing about it until I went to Israel, knocking on doors, and finally found the two suspects. I think it’d be a great idea to go over and knock on their doors”, says Bamford.

The suspects are gone. The trail is cold. Yet many of the key facts and promising leads sit freely on the web, in the archives, safe in the news-morgues at 20/20 and The Forward and Die Zeit. An investigator close to the matter says it reminds him of the Antonioni film “Blow-Up”, a movie about a photographer who discovers the evidence of a covered-up murder hidden before his very eyes in the frame of an enlarged photograph. It’s a mystery that no one appears eager to solve.

Christopher Ketcham is a freelance journalist who has written for Harper’s and Salon. Many of his writings, including his groundbreaking story on the Israeli art students, can be read on his website: christopherketcham.com, as can the Shea memo.

September 8, 2021 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 4 Comments

The Evil That Men Do Lives After Them

How about some accountability for Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen?

BY PHILIP GIRALDI • UNZ REVIEW • AUGUST 24, 2021

If you want to know how the United States wound up with “government by stupid” one need only look no farther than some of the recent propaganda put out by members of Congress, senior military officers and a certain former president. President George W. Bush, who started the whole sequence of events that have culminated in the disaster that is Afghanistan, is not yet in prison, but one can always hope.

Regarding the current crisis, former FBI special agent and 9/11 whistleblower Coleen Rowley cited Richard W. Behan who mused over “How perverse we have become. We chastise President Biden for a messy ending of the war in Afghanistan and fail to indict George Bush for its illegal beginning.” She then observed, in her own words on Facebook, “So Rehabilitated War Criminal Bush can maintain his legacy as stalwart statesman as he cutely dances with Ellen DeGeneris and Michelle Obama on television screens. Washington is just a big fact-free political show where the blame game winners are the best manipulators.”

I would add to that the hubris of the “Mission Accomplished” banner on the tower of an aircraft carrier as Bush, wearing a flight suit, inaccurately announced victory and an end of combat in Afghanistan, presumably so he could focus on his new war in Iraq. As the Taliban had not attacked or threatened America, had no means of doing so, and were even willing to turn over “their guest” Osama bin Laden to US justice after the bombing of the USS Cole in late 2000, they were hardly a formidable foe. The Bush Administration refused the offer to surrender bin Laden on four occasions before 9/11 and once more five days after the attack because it wanted a war. Given all of that backstory, what Bush and his posse of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Tenet, Feith, Powell and Libby did was indisputably a war crime. And they followed up with fake intelligence to justify a second war against Saddam Hussein, who had also sought to avoid war by offering to go into voluntary exile. The Nuremberg tribunals considered aggressive war against an unthreatening nation to be the ultimate war crime. That would make it an ultimate war crime times two, not to mention the killing of civilians and torture that went along with it. And President Barack Obama added to that toll by subsequently destroying an unthreatening Libya. Unfortunately, many of those war criminals from the Bush and Obama cliques who are still alive are sitting fat and pretty in retirement or in lucrative private sector positions while the only ones who have been punished are the whistleblowers who tried to stop the madness.

George W. Bush is not particularly good at apologies so it is not surprising that he did not deliver one regarding the war he unnecessarily started and even more unnecessarily prolonged through the US occupation. In his view, the US should now remain in Afghanistan and he claims to be worrying about what will happen to Afghan women in particular and to the growing number of refugees, who he opines should be allowed to enter the United States. His statement includes a tip of the hat to the armed forces: “Many of you deal with wounds of war, both visible and invisible… And some of your brothers and sisters in arms made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. Each day, we have been humbled by your commitment and your courage. You took out a brutal enemy and denied Al Qaeda a safe haven while building schools, sending supplies, and providing medical care. You kept America safe from further terror attacks, provided two decades of security and opportunity for millions, and made America proud. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and will always honor your contributions.”

The delusional Bush makes it all sound like a mission of mercy which inter alia destroyed a ruthless enemy preparing to strike and kept America free of terror, none of which is true but it certainly sounds nice. But what is really interesting is how the fall of Afghanistan is being used by some to hype Bush’s war on terror, making the case that it is now more important than ever to strengthen US counterterrorism efforts. Which is another way of saying, “keep the cash flowing!” Those who have a vested interest in the war on terror are warning that the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan has raised concerns relating to a possible resurgence of terror groups that might once again use the country as a home base. The frequently wrong on every issue General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that “the United States could now face a rise in terrorist threats from a Taliban-run Afghanistan.”

Of course, if that were the case, Afghanistan might well face a bout of heavy strategic bombing by the United States, so there is not exactly an incentive for them to do something that provocative. Nor do they have the resources to act outside their own borders and they presumably would not welcome any of their “guests” provoking another US invasion.

Milley’s dumb comments on Afghanistan, to include the astonishingly wrong claim that US intelligence did not report in extenso the sorry state of the Afghan Army and the imminent collapse of the government, demonstrate that ignorance on major issues relating to foreign policy is not limited to those who call themselves Republicans. Secretary of State Tony Blinken insists that the retreat from Kabul is not a replay of Saigon, nor were the withdrawal plans, such as they existed, “botched.” Word in Washington is that Blinken will be the designated fall guy for the disaster to protect his boss.

Apart from the Afghanistan fiasco, stupid extends to how the government operates, particularly in Congress. In a recent memo to supporters and constituents Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who heads the Senate Intelligence committee described his top priorities. Three of them are quite interesting. They are: “(1) Root out anti-government extremism, including the white nationalist militias who participated in the January 6th insurrection at our Capitol; (2) Rebuild intelligence community agencies and departments that were understaffed and under-resourced in the previous administration, and (3) Depoliticize our intelligence-gathering apparatus, so these tireless and patriotic public servants can stay above the partisan fray and focus on their jobs: defending the American homeland.”

Enough has been said about the Democratic Party’s obsession with putting white Americans in their proper place, which is some deep hole where they can be ignored and berated as necessary. Purges are already taking place at the Pentagon and at the Justice and Homeland Security Departments. But Warner’s stated “priority” to engage in the rebuilding of an intelligence community that has seen its budget grow year after year comes as somewhat of a surprise. Perhaps it needs the extra cash to root-out those pesky whites. And finally, “depoliticizing” intelligence gathering has to be something of a joke, coming as it does from the party that did the most to politicize it in the first place under President Barack Obama working hand-in-hand with the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to promote the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. I suppose Senator Warner does not see the party in power using the CIA, NSA and FBI to discredit an opponent and destroy his campaign as politicization. Or you can always blame it on the Russians.

All in all, we have had a fine team working in harmony to protect the American people. Hopefully the time they spend in prison somewhere down the road will not discourage them and they will emerge with their brilliant insights fully intact. With leaders like Bush, Milley, Blinken and Warner, what could possibly go wrong?

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

August 24, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

‘Deny and accuse somebody else’: FBI told informant in Michigan governor ‘kidnap’ plot to slander another man

RT | August 17, 2021

A text from an FBI agent instructed an informant in the alleged militia plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to delete messages and shift blame onto another man, casting further doubt on the already doubtful case.

Five people are currently awaiting trial on federal charges that the “Wolverine Watchmen” militia they supposedly belonged to wanted to kidnap the Democrat governor. The FBI announced the plot and arrested them in October 2020, shortly before the US election.

In a court filing last week the attorney for one of them sought text messages from FBI special agents Henrik Impola and Jayson Chambers, citing an exchange with one of the informants, identified only as “Dan.” A screenshot of it appeared online on Tuesday.

“Be sure to delete these,” the agent – allegedly Impola – tells ‘Dan,’ and later instructs him to deflect accusations of being an FBI informant. “Best thing to do is deny and accuse somebody else,” the agent texted, naming a man who wasn’t charged in the plot.

The text messages were cited in a filing by Michael Hills, an attorney representing one of the five defendants, Brandon Caserta. The FBI instructing their paid informant “to lie and paint an innocent citizen as an undercover federal agent” to an alleged domestic terrorist militia leader “casts a dark shadow over the credibility of this investigation,” Hills wrote in a court filing, as quoted by the local outlet MLive on Sunday.

‘Dan’ was “at the center of all activity” and recruited other individuals to join the alleged conspiracy, so the defense is demanding his text messages for purposes of arguing entrapment and as “evidence of government methods and tactics,” Hills wrote.

His colleague Christopher Gibbons, who represents Adam Fox, another defendant in the case, wrote that FBI informants “were originators of the criminal design in this case, to the extent that a ‘design’ ever existed.”

Last month, BuzzFeed published a lengthy investigative report – citing court filings, transcripts and interviews – showing that informants played a “far larger” role in the alleged plot than was previously known. The FBI relied on a dozen Confidential Human Sources (CHS) or Undercover Employees (UCE), almost as many as the actual members of the ‘Wolverines.’

Eight alleged militiamen have been charged under Michigan terrorism statutes, while six were slapped with federal charges. One, Ty Garbin, has since pleaded guilty to the kidnap conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing. Caserta, Fox, Barry Croft, Daniel Harris and Kaleb Franks are being held in jail ahead of the October 12 trial in Grand Rapids.

Assistant US Attorney Nils Kessler, who is prosecuting the case, has argued that the defendants were “predisposed to join the kidnapping and explosive conspiracies, and therefore will not be able to prove entrapment.”

The unraveling “plot” has prompted some critics – such as conservative lawyer and filmmaker Mike Cernovich – to accuse the FBI of engaging in a “disinformation campaign directly attacking democracy.”

August 17, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | 1 Comment

Washington’s Terrorist Friends: Prominent Americans Continue to Support a Murderous Cult

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 5, 2021

One might ask if Washington’s obsession with terrorism includes supporting radical armed groups as long as they are politically useful in attacking countries that the US regards as enemies? It is widely known that the American CIA worked with Saudi Arabia to create al-Qaeda to attack the Russians in Afghanistan and the same my-enemy’s-enemy thinking appears to drive the current relationships with radical groups in Syria.

Given the fact that Iran continues to be the Biden Administration’s enemy du jour, it is perhaps not surprising to observe that the US also supports terror groups that are capable of attacking targets in the Islamic Republic. To that end, recently a number of former senior government officials and politicians were involved in cultivating their relationships with the Iranian terrorist group Mojahedin e Khalq (MEK), which held its most recent annual international summit in Paris for three days starting on July 10th. The event was online due to French COVID prevention guidelines and the featured speaker was Michele Flournoy, former US undersecretary of defense for policy under President Barack Obama. Flournoy was once considered a front runner to be President Joe Biden’s defense secretary and she currently heads a consulting firm WestExec Advisors that she co-founded with current Secretary of State Anthony Blinken which has had considerable influence over staffing and other issues in the White House. In her talk, she accused Iran of posing a danger to the security of the Middle East, the United States, and to its own people, elaborating how “Since 1979, every US administration has had to deal with the threat posed by Iran’s revolutionary regime and the Biden administration is no different. Iran is one of the most urgent foreign policy issues on the president’s desk.” She called for an “internal regime change” in the Islamic Republic.

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers also spoke before the online gathering. Speakers included House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Democratic Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. Also participating were Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida and both Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile also spoke as did former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said that the MEK should be “blessed and protected.”

The summit self-described as “the largest-ever online international event dedicated to liberating Iran” with the objective of “inciting uprisings against the government in the Islamic Republic.” Though it would be charitable to suggest that the congressmen and former officials were largely involved to pick up the generous fees paid to speakers, it must also be noted that knowledge of MEK and its history is readily available on the internet and elsewhere. Flournoy in particular should have known better but even she, after the fact, claimed implausibly that she did not know that she was speaking to a former terrorist group that had killed Americans.

It should also be observed that the participating Congressmen all have extremely close ties to Israel and its domestic lobby, which have been assiduous in their efforts to vilify Iran as America’s designated enemy. To be sure, no one at the summit even mentioned Israel’s use of MEK operatives to carry out assassinations of scientists and sabotage operations inside Iran.

MEK is a curious hybrid creature in any event in that it pretends to be an alternative government option for Iran even though it is despised by nearly all Iranians. It is considered to be both irrelevant and ineffective but Iran hatred is so prevalent that it is greatly loved by the Washington Establishment which would like to see the Mullahs deposed and replaced by something more amenable to US and Israeli worldviews.

MEK is run like a cult by its leader Maryam Rajavi, with a number of rules that restrict and control the behavior of its members. One commentary likens membership in MEK to a modern-day equivalent of slavery. A study prepared by the Rand corporation for the U.S. government conducted interviews of MEK members and concluded that there were present “many of the typical characteristics of a cult, such as authoritarian control, confiscation of assets, sexual control (including mandatory divorce and celibacy), emotional isolation, forced labor, sleep deprivation, physical abuse and limited exit options.”

The group currently operates out of a secretive, heavily guarded 84 acre compound in Albania that is covertly supported by the United States intelligence community, as well as through a “political wing” front office in Paris, where it refers to itself as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). MEK is financially supported by Saudi Arabia, which enables it to stage events in the United States and in Europe where it generously pays politicians to make fifteen-minute speeches praising the organization and everything it does. It’s bribing of inside the Beltway power brokers and its support by Israel proved so successful that it was removed from the State Department terrorist list in 2012 by Hillary Clinton even though it had killed Americans in the 1970s.

As indicated above, MEK made the transition from terrorist group to “champions of Iranian democracy” by virtue of intensive lobbying of Iran haters. A Guardian article also describes how “A stupendously long list of American politicians from both parties were paid hefty fees to speak at events in favor of the MEK, including Rudy Giuliani, Joe Lieberman, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Elaine Chao and former Democratic party chairs Edward Rendell and Howard Dean – along with multiple former heads of the FBI and CIA. John Bolton, who has made multiple appearances at events supporting the MEK, is estimated to have received upwards of $180,000. According to financial disclosure forms, Bolton was paid $40,000 for a single appearance at the Free Iran rally in Paris in 2017.”

It apparently has never occurred to the congressmen and senior officials that the MEK group had a whole lot of history before it appeared on the scene in Washington and began buying American politicians. MEK, which consisted of a group of dissident students having Marxism inspired anti-capitalist and anti-colonialist roots, had a bloody falling out with the Iranian revolution leaders in 1979, forcing it to resettle at Camp Ashraf, near Baghdad. It was protected by Saddam Hussein and used to carry out terrorist attacks inside Iran. It was also fiercely anti-American beginning back in the 1970s when it was still in Iran, to include attacks on US businesses and denunciations of the United States presence in Iran under the Shah. In 1979 it supported executing the US Embassy hostages rather than negotiating their release. One of its songs went “Death to America by blood and bonfire on the lips of every Muslim is the cry of the Iranian people. May America be annihilated.”

Within the US government, MEK was notorious for its assassination of at least six US Air Force officers and civilian defense contractors. One particularly audacious ambush in which two air force officers were murdered by MEK while being driven in from the airport was reenacted for each incoming class at the Central Intelligence Agency training center in the late 1970s to illustrate just how a perfectly executed terrorist attack on a moving vehicle might take place.

Given how currently nearly every news cycle includes stories about fake news on social media, it is surprising that MEK is never mentioned. Its current Albanian operational center uses banks of computers manned by followers, some of whom are fluent in English, who serve as bots unleashing scores of comments supporting regime change in Iran while also directing waves of criticism against any pro-Iranian pieces that appear elsewhere on social media, to include Facebook and Twitter. By one account, more than a thousand MEK supporters manage thousands of accounts on social media simultaneously. The objective of all the chatter is to convince the mostly English-speaking audience that there is a large body of Iranians who are hostile to the regime and supportive of MEK as a replacement.

It is an indisputable fact that over the past ten years, members of both major parties in Congress have either traveled to the group’s compound in Albania or spoken via video messages or live appearances in exchange for hefty speaking fees. The support provided by prominent officeholders and policymakers to include effusive praise of a terrorist group that is viscerally anti-American and has killed US officials is a disgrace. It is also a symptom of deeper problems in terms of how our foreign policy has been developed through the ascendancy of special interests. That America’s Iran policy should lead to praise of a radicalized extremist cult that is funded by authoritarian Saudi Arabia and politically supported by apartheid Israel ignores US actual interests at our peril.

August 5, 2021 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Why People Don’t Trust the Mainstream Media

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | August 4, 2021

An article in the Washington Post about the January 6 protests at the Capitol goes a long way toward explaining why people do not trust the mainstream media. The article, written by a Post reporter named Mike DeBonis, focuses on allegations that the FBI infiltrated the ranks of the protestors and actually helped to incite them to illegally enter the Capitol and engage in mayhem after doing so.

The overall tone that DeBonis sets forth is one that is oftentimes found in the mainstream media when it comes to alleged wrongdoing by the federal government. The article has a mocking tone to it, suggesting that the people who are making this allegation are conspiracy theorists for actually believing that federal officials would do such a horrible thing. 

There is a critical sentence in DeBonis’s article: “The FBI declined to comment.”

Why is that line important? Because there are two ways that a reporter can go when he is writing a story about this type of allegation. 

On the one hand, he can mock and ridicule those who are making the allegation, pointing out that they haven’t produced any evidence to support their “unfounded claim.” 

On the other hand, he can aggressively go after FBI officials and demand a definitive yes-or-no answer instead of simply settling for a “no comment” by the FBI and also engage in an aggressive investigative effort to determine whether there is evidence to support the allegation.

DeBonis chose the first route. But why? After all, a “no comment” answer by the FBI is about as incriminating as an answer can be, short of an outright admission of wrongdoing. That’s because if the FBI were not guilty of the wrongdoing, it would undoubtedly simply say, “The allegation is false.” The FBI clearly did not do that with its “no comment” answer. It’s “no comment” answer leaves open the possibility — perhaps even the likelihood — that the FBI was involved in wrongdoing, 

DeBonis makes a big issue of out of the fact that the people who are making this allegation have not provided any evidence to support their allegation. But what people have pointed out is a similar course of conduct by the FBI in other cases, which would be enough to cause any reasonable person to assume that it might have engaged in the same course of conduct with respect to the January 6 protests.

For example, consider the case that involves the alleged kidnapping of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. DeBonis is aware of that case because he links to an article from BuzzFeedNews.com about the case. That article alleges that the FBI played a major role in inducing the defendants in the case to commit the kidnapping. Even if what the FBI allegedly did wasn’t enough to support a defense of entrapment, its alleged actions are nonetheless enough to cause any reasonable citizen, including investigative journalists, concern. 

But that’s not all. As journalist Glenn Greenwald has documented, the FBI has a long history of inciting people to commit acts of domestic terrorism. The idea is to incite people to commit crimes so that the FBI can then be praised and glorified for busting them up. See Greenwald’s July 24 article “FBI Using the Same Fear Tactic From the First War on Terror: Orchestrating its Own Terrorism Plots.” Also, see the July 31 article “Will More Media Bias Save Democracy?” by James Bovard.

Given the history of the FBI engaging in this type of misconduct, you would think that any journalist worth his salt would say, “I need to get to the bottom of this latest assertion. I need to know whether the FBI did the same thing here. Rather than mocking and ridiculing these people by pointing out that they have furnished no evidence to support their allegation, I need to do my job and go after the FBI to see if there is any evidence to support the allegation.”

Rather than do that, DeBonis goes off on the other track by implicitly assuming that the FBI would never do such a thing and implicitly assuming that those who are making the allegation are nothing more than “conspiracy theorists.”

That’s why so many people don’t trust the mainstream media.

This is not a recent phenomenon. 

We can go all the way back to Operation Mockingbird, the CIA’s secret program in the 1960s and 1970s whose aim was to acquire CIA assets from within the mainstream press, whose secret job would be to come to the defense of the national-security establishment whenever necessary, including but calling people “conspiracy theorists” whenever they allege wrongdoing on the part of CIA officials.  

According to the Wikipedia entry on “Operation Mockingbird,” 

In a 1977 Rolling Stone magazine article, “The CIA and the Media,” reporter Carl Bernstein expanded upon the Church Committee’s report and said that around 400 press members were considered intelligence assets by the CIA, including New York Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger, columnist and political analyst Stewart Alsop and Time magazine. Berstein documented the way in which overseas branches of major US news agencies had for many years served as the “eyes and ears” of Operation Mockingbird, which functioned to disseminate CIA propaganda through domestic US media.[6]

The best example, of course, of the deference to the authority of the national-security establishment relates to the Kennedy assassination. Today, there are two separate worlds when it comes to that assassination: the world of the mainstream media and the world of Internet. They are two completely different worlds — actually, parallel universes. 

On the Internet, it’s possible to find people analyzing, questioning, and challenging the official lone-nut theory of the case, pointing to the mountain of evidence, for example, that establishes that the national-security establishment conducted a fraudulent autopsy on President Kennedy’s body. (See my books The Kennedy Autopsy and The Kennedy Autopsy 2 as well as the recorded presentations at The Future of Freedom Foundation’s recent conference “The National Security State and the Kennedy Assassination.”

Not so in the mainstream press. It is considered verboten in the mainstream press for any reporter or commentator to challenge or question any aspect of the official lone-nut theory of the assassination. Woe to the reporter or commentator who does so. He will be looking for a new job post haste — somewhere on the Internet.

In the December 6, 1963, issue of Life magazine, a well-known Life magazine reporter named Paul Mandel wrote an article about the assassination in which he claimed that the famous Zapruder film showed that the president had turned around to face the Texas School Book Depository. The president’s action, Mandel said, explained how it was that the president was shot in the throat.

No one could verify Mandel’s statement because Life magazine had purchased the film from Abraham Zapruder for $150,000, which in today’s dollars amounted to around $1.2 million. Life locked the film away, saying that it wanted to protect the American people from ever having to see such violence.

In 1969, Jim Garrison, the district attorney in New Orleans, brought a criminal prosecution against a man named Clay Shaw in which Garrison alleged that the Kennedy assassination was actually a sophisticated regime-change operation on the part of the U.S. national-security establishment. Garrison subpoenaed the Zapruder film from Life magazine and showed it in court. The film showed that the president had never turned around and faced the school book depository. By this time, of course, the official story revolved around the magic bullet theory, which posited that the president had actually been shot in the rear of the neck (i.e., not through the throat), with the bullet supposedly having come out the front (and then supposedly striking Gov. John Connally in multiple places, with the bullet magically ending up in a pristine condition.) 

In other words, Mandel had lied, either intentionally or because someone at Life magazine had falsely told him that that’s what the film showed. There is no other conclusion that can be reached. There is no way that Mandel’s allegation could be construed to be an innocent mistake, because Life magazine had the film. 

There is another interesting aspect to the saga. According to Wikipedia:

General Charles Douglas (C. D.) Jackson (March 16, 1902 – September 18, 1964) was a United States government propagandist and senior executive of Time Inc. As an expert on psychological warfare he served in the Office of Strategic Services in World War II and later as Special Assistant to the President in the Eisenhower administration…. After Abraham Zapruder took the famous film in Dallas on November 22, 1963, Jackson purchased it on behalf of Time/Life to “protect the integrity of the film.” Upon viewing it on Sunday morning, he ordered it locked in a vault at the Time/Life building in Manhattan.

In 1972 — three years after the Zapruder film was shown in the Shaw trial — Life magazine, which had been one of the most popular weekly magazines in history, cease publication as a weekly. Some people said that it was because of the rising popularity of television. Another possibility is that people no longer trusted Life magazine.

For the past 25 years, the mainstream media has been losing readership  and money. Some people blame it on the rising popularity of the Internet. Another possibility is that people no longer trust the mainstream media.

August 4, 2021 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

New FBI Initiative Will Put “Hate Crime” Quotas On Local Law Enforcement

By Eric Striker | National Justice | July 29, 2021

The Department of Justice and the FBI have a message for local police departments: start charging more white people with hate crimes or invite an investigation.

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta told an assembly of FBI agents yesterday that they are now tasked with hounding police departments in their district if they do not register any “hate crimes.”

Gupta and FBI Deputy Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division Jay Greenberg have declared “hate crimes” by “racially motivated violent extremists” (a euphemism generally reserved for right-wing white men) to be a national threat priority — a rare designation.

According to Greenberg, the FBI will be increasingly specialized in pursuing “hate crimes” through increased training in the matter, an aggressive media campaign designed to recruit victims in “underrepresented and targeted populations,” and putting federal pressure on local law enforcement to charge and report hate crimes when they otherwise wouldn’t.

Hate crimes laws are political and racially motivated. Blacks and Jews are heavily overrepresented as supposed victims in the FBI’s “hate crime” database, while whites are charged at higher rates than general crime rates. For example, last month a black man who shot five white men in a multi-state shooting spree told police his sole motive was that he hated white people, yet neither local prosecutors or the FBI have charged him with a hate crime.

According to the FBI’s 2019 hate crime report, blacks are 49% of victims of racial bias while Jews are 60% of crimes motivated by religious animosity. Most of the blacks in the data were victims of “intimidation,” an often Constitutionally dubious charge. A large number of reported hate crimes targeting both blacks and Jews are hoaxes, as seen in famous cases like the Jussie Smollett incident and the thousands of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers that were the work of a Jew in Israeli.

Just yesterday, a white man was charged with “ethnic intimidation” for putting up stickers that say “I Love Being White.” The FBI wants more police departments to exploit the legal gray area and lack of First Amendment advocacy groups for white dissidents to juke crime statistics and distort the reality of crime. Blacks commit roughly 90% of violent interracial felonies, a statistic the Critical Race Theorists at the FBI find inconvenient.

The mad rush for white racists at the FBI is bound to cause more embarrassments for the increasingly discredited agency. Last year, the theater put on by the FBI over NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s “noose,” which turned out to be a hoax, served to reveal the hyper-politicization and lack of seriousness at the Bureau.

July 29, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

The Coming “January 6” Train Wreck

With the DOJ’s first sentencing, the legal realities are disappointing the left’s lust for blood.

The January 6 Capitol clash may be the gift that keeps on giving to cynics everywhere. In the coming months, Americans will likely see jaw-dropping bureaucratic debacles, stunning abuses by federal prosecutors, and appalling bloodlust by angry Biden supporters. Perhaps the least likely outcome is that the coming train wreck will restore faith in American democracy.

The Justice Department declared last week, “The investigation and prosecution of the Capitol Breach will be the largest in American history, both in terms of the number of defendants prosecuted and the nature and volume of the evidence.” The feds are sorting through “237,000 digital tips, 1 million Parler videos and images comprising 40 terabytes of data scraped from the Internet — roughly equivalent to 10 million photos, 20,000 hours of video, or 50,000 filing cabinets of paper documents,” theWashington Post reported. Investigators are also sorting through “cell tower data for thousands of electronic devices that connected to the Capitol’s interior distributed antenna system,” information provided by phone companies, Google, and other data aggregation companies. The problem will be compounded because many government employees are slow readers.

More than 500 protestors have already been charged in federal court, but their trials will likely be delayed at least until next year. Federal judge John Bates recently warned that evidence snafus could result in judges “going on the warpath.” If judges conclude that the Justice Department is unreasonably keeping January 6 defendants locked up (often in solitary confinement) too long, judicial edicts could unravel prosecutors’ long-term plans.  

Federal cases against January 6 protestors are being built on what one savvy electronic evidence consultant called a “Tower of Babel nightmare.” While federal agents gloated at the 300,000 plus tips that poured into the FBI with regards to January 6 protestors, prosecutors are obliged to sift the hairballs and provide each defendant and their lawyers with potentially exculpatory evidence.  The biggest data dump on record will likely spur a deluge of inadvertent or intentional withholding of evidence. The Justice Department recently notified defense lawyers that they would have to “build a system to receive the data” the feds delivered. The prosecution is also whining because a federal judge prevented them from relying on a private contractor to organize secret grand jury evidence.

The Justice Department may be delaying release of the bulk of the more than 14,000 hours of video surveillance from inside the Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to preserve Biden’s “domestic terrorism” storyline of that day’s events. Even before Trump supporters poured into the Capitol that day, Democrats were accusing them of sedition for filing legal challenges to the 2020 election results, including popular Twitter hashtags such as  #GOPSeditiousTraitors and #TreasonAgainstAmerica. After the mob delayed congressional proceedings for six hours, congressional leaders compared the interruption to the 9/11 attacks, Pearl Harbor, and the War of 1812. The Justice Department may also be foot-dragging on releasing evidence because it is reluctant to disclose what role, if any, federal informants or undercover agents had in instigating or propagating violence that day.

For January 6 defendants, federal prosecutors are using a simple formula: Trespassing plus thought crimes equals terrorism. On Monday, Paul Hodgkins was sentenced to 8 months in prison, though the feds admitted he was guilty simply of taking selfies, wearing a Trump T-shirt, and carrying a Trump flag into the Senate chamber and “did not personally engage in or espouse violence or property destruction.” Though Hodgkins pled guilty only to one count of obstructing an official proceeding, Biden’s Justice Department demanded a lengthy prison sentence for Hodgkins to “deter… domestic terrorism.” This is akin to prosecutors seeking harsh punishment for a confessed jaywalker because his negligent behavior could have caused a school bus to crash.

At the same time the Justice Department is bumbling towards paralysis, many Americans are howling for the heads of January 6 defendants. In his Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn described the vast public outrage that went along with a prominent Soviet show trial of accused wreckers: “There were universal meetings and demonstrations (including even school-children). It was the newspaper march of millions, and the roar rose outside the windows of the courtroom: ‘Death! Death! Death!’”  The same spectacle has been stark on Twitter and in the comment section of the Washington Post, among other places.

One Washington Post commenter declared that “the only effective way for the government to respond to an act of war by domestic terrorists is to be prepared to meet them with machine guns and flamethrowers and mow them down. Not one of those terrorists who broke through police lines [on January 6] should have escaped alive.” Hodgkins’s sentence terrified and enraged Post readers. One wrote, “The pitiful 8 month sentence scares me badly… I’m afraid the government is losing its ability to protect us from madmen (consider the mentally ill and tweakers roaming our streets untreated) and right wing Q inspired terrorists.” Another commented, “He should have been given the death penalty for sedition.” As always, one commenter even reached back to the Nazis for an analogy, writing, “It is comparable to the 9 months that Adolf Hitler served after his participation in an attempted 1923 putsch against the German government. Remember how that turned out?”

Federal judge Randolph Moss, when he sentenced Hodgkins, declared that his action will make it “harder for all of us to tell our children and grandchildren that democracy stands as the immutable foundation of our nation.” Unfortunately, judges seem nonchalant when American democracy is subverted instead by federal agencies. After FBI Assistant General Counsel Kevin Clinesmith admitted falsifying key evidence to get a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump presidential campaign, federal judge James Boasberg gushed with sympathy at the sentencing hearing: “Mr. Clinesmith has lost his job in government service—what has given his life much of its meaning.” Scorning the recommendation of the federal prosecutor (who said the “resulting harm is immeasurable recommendation” from Clinesmith’s action), Boasberg gave Clinesmith a wrist slap—400 hours of community service and 12 months of probation. The Justice Department Inspector General documented many other abuses of power and deceit by FBI officials in the Hillary Clinton or Trump investigations, but not a single FBI official has spent a day behind bars.

Will Justice Department prosecutors be caught in a Catch-22, pressured by the White House to harvest as many scalps as possible but crippled by the lack of proof that most of the accused were guilty of anything besides trespassing or “willfully and knowingly parading” in the Capitol? Political pressure for high-profile convictions resulted in disastrous courtroom defeats for federal attorneys prosecuting Ruby Ridge, the Branch Davidian standoff at Waco, and other cases. If juries rebuff prosecutors on more than a few January 6 cases, then the entire political storyline could quickly collapse.

Federal prosecutor Mona Sedky is calling for harsh punishment for January 6 defendants because of “the need to preserve respect for the law.” But at this point, “respect for the law” is a loss leader in this process. That won’t be remedied when people realize that taking selfies can result in a federal sentencing enhancement.

James Bovard is the author of Lost RightsAttention Deficit Democracy, and Public Policy Hooligan. He is also a USA Today columnist.

July 24, 2021 Posted by | Deception | , | 1 Comment

FBI Using the Same Fear Tactic From the First War on Terror: Orchestrating its Own Terrorism Plots

Questioning the FBI’s role in 1/6 was maligned by corporate media as deranged. But only ignorance about the FBI or a desire to deceive could produce such a reaction.

By Glenn Greenwald | July 24, 2021

The narrative that domestic anti-government extremism is the greatest threat to U.S. national security — the official position of the U.S. security state and the Biden administration — received its most potent boost in October 2020, less than one month before the 2020 presidential election. That was when the F.B.I. and Michigan state officials announced the arrest of thirteen people on terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges, with six of them accused of participating in a plot to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who had been a particular target of criticism from President Trump for her advocacy for harsh COVID lockdown measures.

The headlines that followed were dramatic and fear-inducing: “F.B.I. Says Michigan Anti-Government Group Plotted to Kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” announced The New York Times. That same night, ABC News began its broadcast this way: “Tonight, we take you into a hidden world, a place authorities say gave birth to a violent domestic terror plot in Michigan — foiled by the FBI.”

Democrats and liberal journalists instantly seized on this storyline to spin a pre-election theme that was as extreme as it was predictable. Gov. Whitmer herself blamed Trump, claiming that the plotters “heard the president’s words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry — as a call to action.” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) claimed that “the president is a deranged lunatic and he’s inspired white supremacists to violence, the latest of which was a plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer,” adding: “these groups have attempted to KILL many of us in recent years. They are following Trump’s lead.” Vox’s paid television-watcher and video-manipulator, Aaron Rupar, drew this inference: “Trump hasn’t commended the FBI for breaking up Whitmer kidnapping/murder plot because as always he doesn’t want to denounce his base.” Michael Moore called for Trump’s arrest for having incited the kidnapping plot against Gov. Whitmer. One viral tweet from a popular Democratic Party activist similarly declared: “Trump should be arrested for this plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer. There’s no doubt he inspired this terrorism.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo instantly declared it to be a terrorist attack on America: “We must condemn and call out the cowardly plot against Governor Whitmer for what it is: Domestic terrorism.” MSNBC’s social media star Kyle Griffin cast it as a coup attempt: “The FBI thwarted what they described as a plot to violently overthrow the government and kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.” CNN’s Jim Sciutto pronounced it “deeply alarming.”

lengthy CNN article — dressed up as an investigative exposé that was little more than stenography of FBI messaging disseminated from behind a shield of anonymity — purported in the headline to take the reader “Inside the plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer.” It claimed that it all began when angry discussions about COVID restrictions “spiraled into a terrorism plot, officials say, with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer the target of a kidnapping scheme.” CNN heralded the FBI’s use of informants and agents to break up the plot but depicted them as nothing more than passive bystanders reporting what the domestic terrorists were plotting:

The Watchmen had been flagged to the FBI in March, and one of its members was now an informant. That informant, others on the inside, as well as undercover operatives and recordings, allowed the bureau to monitor what was happening from then on.

The article never once hinted at let alone described the highly active role of these informants and agents themselves in encouraging and designing the plot. Instead, it depicted these anti-government activists as leading one another — on their own — to commit what CNN called “treason in a quaint town.” The more honest headline for this CNN article would have been: “Inside the FBI’s tale of the plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer.” But since CNN never questions the FBI — they employ their top agents and operatives once they leave the bureau in order to disseminate their propaganda — this is what the country got from The Most Trusted Name in News:

Gov. Whitmer herself attempted to prolong the news cycle as much as possible, all but declaring herself off-limits from criticism by equating any critiques of her governance with incitement to terrorism. Appearing on Meet the Press two Sundays after the plot was revealed, Whitmer said it was “incredibly disturbing that the president of the United States—10 days after a plot to kidnap, put me on trial, and execute me, 10 days after that was uncovered—the president is at it again, and inspiring, and incentivizing, and inciting this kind of domestic terrorism.”

On October 22 — just two weeks before Election Day — MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow hosted Whitmer and told the Michigan Governor that the evidence was clear that Trump had been “turning on a faucet of violent threats” against her. Whitmer agreed that Trump was to blame for the kidnapping plot by having repeatedly attacked her in his rallies:

Joe Biden also made repeated use of this storyline. Appearing at a campaign rally in Michigan on October 16, the Democratic candidate blasted Trump for the crime of continuing to criticize Whitmer even after she was the target of a terror plot. He explicitly blamed Trump for having incited it: “When the president tweeted ‘Liberate Michigan, Liberate Michigan,’ that’s the call that was heard. That was the dog whistle.” And he accused Trump of purposely stoking a wave of the worst kind of terrorism on U.S. soil: “it’s the sort of behavior you might expect from ISIS,” he said of the accused.

Yet from the start, there were ample and potent reasons to distrust the FBI’s version of events. To begin with, FBI press releases are typically filled with lies, yet media outlets — due to some combination of excessive gullibility, an inability to learn lessons, or a desire to be deceived — continue to treat them as Gospel. For another, the majority of “terror plots” the FBI claimed to detect and break up during the first War on Terror were, in fact, plots manufactured, funded and driven by the FBI itself.

Indeed, the FBI has previously acknowledged that its own powers and budget depend on keeping Americans in fear of such attacks. Former FBI Assistant Director Thomas Fuentes, in a documentary called “The Newberg Sting” about a 2009 FBI arrest of four men on terrorism charges, uttered this extremely candid admission:

If you’re submitting budget proposals for a law enforcement agency, for an intelligence agency, you’re not going to submit the proposal that “We won the war on terror and everything’s great,” cuz the first thing that’s gonna happen is your budget’s gonna be cut in half. You know, it’s my opposite of Jesse Jackson’s ‘Keep Hope Alive’—it’s ‘Keep Fear Alive.’ Keep it alive.

In the Whitmer kidnapping case, the FBI’s own affidavit in support of the charges acknowledged the involvement in the plot of both informants and undercover FBI agents “over several months.”

Excerpt of FBI affidavit criminal complaint accompanying the criminal complaint in U.S. District Court against six defendants in the Whitmer plot

In sum, there was no way to avoid suspicions about the FBI’s crucial role in a plot like this absent extreme ignorance about the bureau’s behavior over the last two decades or an intentional desire to sow fear about right-wing extremists attacking Democratic Party officials one month before the 2020 presidential election. In fact, the signs of FBI involvement were there from the start for those who — unlike CNN — wanted to know the truth.

report from the Detroit Free Press published just two days after CNN’s FBI stenography noted that the FBI agents were incapable of identifying any specifics of this supposed plot, adding that defense attorneys were adamant that those accused were merely engaged in idle chatter, boasting that they were never really serious about following through. Then the paper added that, for defense lawyers, “it remains to be seen what roles the undercover informants and FBI agents played in the case, and whether they pushed the others into carrying out the plan.” Meanwhile, an actually independent journalist, Michael Tracey, had no trouble identifying the telltale signs of FBI orchestration that were so apparent countless times during the first War on Terror. Three days before the CNN story, he wrote:

But the value of depicting Trump as having incited a frightening terrorist attack just weeks before the election, and the zeal to feed the broader narrative pushed by the U.S. security state that anti-government extremism is America’s greatest national security threat, drowned out any skepticism. The storyline was clear and unquestioned: Trump was inciting ISIS-like terrorism on U.S. soil and right-wing extremists, who would fester even after Trump was done, were the primary menace that requires new domestic powers and larger budgets in order to defeat.

Yet just as happened with so many other narratives — from the origins of COVID to Hunter Biden’s corrupt use of his ties to his father — Trump’s defeat means the media is now willing to reconsider some of the propaganda that was pushed in the lead-up to the election. An excellent piece of investigative journalism published by BuzzFeed on Tuesday documents that, far from being passive observers of the plot, FBI informants and agents were the key drivers of it:

An examination of the case by BuzzFeed News also reveals that some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported. Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception. The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.

So central to this plot were those acting at the behest of the FBI that many of the accused plotters only met each other because of meetings arranged at the direction of the FBI, who targeted them based on social media postings and other political activities that suggested anti-government and anti-Whitmer sentiments which could be exploited:

A longtime government informant from Wisconsin, for example, helped organize a series of meetings around the country where many of the alleged plotters first met one another and the earliest notions of a plan took root, some of those people say. The Wisconsin informant even paid for some hotel rooms and food as an incentive to get people to come.

One of the FBI’s informants, a former Iraq War soldier, “became so deeply enmeshed in a Michigan militant group that he rose to become its second-in-command.” With his leadership role in one of the key groups, and all while acting under the direction of the FBI, he was “encouraging members to collaborate with other potential suspects and paying for their transportation to meetings.” Indeed, he even “prodded the alleged mastermind of the kidnapping plot to advance his plan, then baited the trap that led to the arrest.”

A review of not only the BuzzFeed reporting but also the underlying court documents leaves little doubt that the primary impetus for this plot came over and over from the FBI. On July 12, a lawyer for one of the defendants filed a motion asking the court to compel the FBI to turn over all chats which their agents and informants involving the plot. He did so on the ground that the few chats they had obtained themselves — from their own clients — repeatedly show the FBI pushing and prodding its agents over and over to lure defendants into more meetings, to join in “recon” exercises, and to take as many steps as possible toward the plot.

While it was clear from the start that there were FBI informants and agents in the middle of all of this, it turns out that at least half of those involved were acting on FBI orders: twelve informants and agents. As BuzzFeed says, those acting at the behest of the FBI “had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception.” All of that, concluded the reporters, “raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.”

But this evidence does not so much raise that question as much as it answers it. The idea of kidnapping Gov. Whitmer came from the FBI. It was a plot designed by the agency, and they then went on the hunt to target people they believed they could manipulate into joining their plot — either people were easily manipulated due to psychological weakness, financial vulnerability, and/or their strongly held political views. In sum, the FBI devised this plot, was the primary organizer of it, funded it, purposely directed their targets to pose for incriminating pictures that they then released to the press, and then heaped praise on themselves for stopping what they themselves had created.


For anyone covering the FBI during the first War on Terror, none of this is new. So many of the supposed “terror plots” the FBI purported to disrupt over the last twenty years were — just like the Michigan plot — ones that were created and driven by, and would not have happened without, the FBI’s own planning, funding and direction.

Just as they are doing now, the FBI used those plots to elevate fear levels and justify more domestic surveillance power and funding for the U.S. security state. While the targets then were typically young American Muslims with anti-government views rather than young right-wing white men with anti-government views, the tactics were identical.

The examples are far too numerous to count. As one illustrative example, in 2015, the FBI flamboyantly praised itself for arresting three Brooklyn men on charges of “attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq.” Then, as now, outlets such as The New York Times promoted the FBI’s maximalist-fear-mongering version of events: “3 Brooklyn Men Accused of Plot to Aid ISIS’ Fight,” blared the headline.

But even that largely pro-FBI Times article raised the question of whether this plot was real or manufactured by the bureau:

The case against the three men relies in part on a confidential informant paid by the government, court documents show. Defense lawyers have criticized the government’s use of informers in similar cases, saying they may lure targets into making extreme plans or statements. In some cases, the threat has turned out to be overstated.

And the FBI itself admitted that the “threats of violence” from the three arrested — such as killing President Obama — “had an ‘aspirational’ quality to them, with no indication that the suspects were close to staging an attack, large or small.” The Times article also noted that the FBI observed that “in online postings, the two younger men seem to be searching for meaning in their lives,” adding that “as they were led into court, the youthfulness of Mr. Juraboev and Mr. Saidakhmetov was striking.”

Analyzing all the evidence in this case, my then-colleague at The Intercept Murtaza Hussain documented “the integral role a paid informant appears to have played in generating the charges against the men, and helping turn a fantastical ‘plot’ into something even remotely tangible.” Indeed, he wrote, “none of the three men was in any condition to travel or support the Islamic State, without help from the FBI informant.” It was only when the FBI sent an older Muslim man to gain their trust — acting as an FBI informant and being paid for his services — did anything resembling a crime start to form. The paid FBI informant encouraged the young men to pursue the plan more concretely, and only then did they begin agreeing with the informant’s proposed plot. The informant befriended them, moved in with them, and spent months “convincing both of them that he intended to travel to Syria and join Islamic State.”

Just as was true in the Michigan case, Hussain wrote about this arrest: “Crucially, it appears that only after the introduction of the informant did any actual arrangements to commit a criminal act come into existence.” In sum, “the covert informant under the direction of the FBI” — which employs teams of psychologists and other mental health professions who are experts in how to manipulate people’s thinking — “evidently helped encourage the two toward terrorism over the course of these months.”

Article by Murtaza Hussain of The Intercept, Feb. 20, 2015

I have also covered countless other FBI plots over the years where all the same attributes were present. After the 2015 “ISIS arrest,” I wrote an article compiling how often the FBI was doing this and asked this question in the headline: “Why Does the FBI Have to Manufacture its Own Plots if Terrorism and ISIS Are Such Grave Threats?,” noting that the bureau’s behavior “is akin to having the DEA constantly warn of the severe threat posed by drug addiction while it simultaneously uses pushers on its payroll to deliberately get people hooked on drugs so that they can arrest the addicts they’ve created and thus justify their own warnings and budgets.”

Months before the 2015 ISIS arrests, the FBI issued a press release praising itself for arresting “a Cincinnati-area man for a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol and kill government officials.” But as I reported, the scary terrorist was “20-year-old Christopher Cornell, [who] is unemployed, lives at home, spends most of his time playing video games in his bedroom, still addresses his mother as ‘Mommy’ and regards his cat as his best friend; he was described as ‘a typical student’ and ‘quiet but not overly reserved’ by the principal of the local high school he graduated in 2012.”

Then House Speaker John Boehner immediately seized on that arrest to warn Americans to be afraid: “We live in a dangerous country, and we get reminded every week of the dangers that are out there.” Boehner also told Americans they should be grateful for domestic surveillance and not try to curb it: the Speaker claimed that “the National Security Agency’s snooping powers helped stop a plot to attack the Capitol and that his colleagues need to keep that in mind as they debate whether to renew the law that allows the government to collect bulk information from its citizens.” Yet the only way Cornell got close to any crimes was because the FBI informant began suggesting to him that he act on his rage against U.S. officials by attacking the Capitol.

Salon articles of my reporting on FBI’s creation of terror plots it “stops”: Nov. 28, 2010 and Sep. 29, 2011

One of the most egregious cases I covered was the 2011 arrest of James Cromitie, an African-American convert to Islam who the FBI attempted to convince — over the course of eight months — to join a terror plot, only for him to adamantly refuse over and over. Only once they dangled a payment of $250,000 in front of his nose right after the impoverished American had lost his job did he agree to join, and then the FBI swooped in, arrested him, and touted their heroic efforts in stopping a terrorist plot.

The U.S. federal judge who sentenced Cromitie to decades in prison, Colleen McMahon, said she did so only because the law of “entrapment” is so narrow that it is virtually impossible for a defendant to win, but in doing so, she repeatedly condemned the FBI in the harshest terms for single-handedly converting Cromitie from a helpless but resentful anti-government fanatic into a criminal. The defendant “was incapable of committing an act of terrorism on his own,” she said, adding: “only the government could have made a terrorist out of Mr. Cromitie, whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in scope.” She added: “There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that James Cromitie could never have dreamed up the scenario in which he actually became involved.”

Her written ruling is worth quoting at length because of how relevant it is to current FBI activities. The judge began by noting that Cromitie “had successfully resisted going too far for eight months,” and agreed only after “the Government dangled what had to be almost irresistible temptation in front of an impoverished man from what I have come (after literally dozens of cases) to view as the saddest and most dysfunctional community in the Southern District of New York.” It was the FBI’s own informant, she wrote, who “was the prime mover and instigator of all the criminal activity that occurred.” She then wrote (emphasis added):

The Government indisputably “manufactured” the crimes of which defendants stand convicted. The Government invented all of the details of the scheme – many of them, such as the trip to Connecticut and the inclusion of Stewart AFB as a target, for specific legal purposes of which the defendants could not possibly have been aware (the former gave rise to federal jurisdiction and the latter mandated a twenty-five year minimum sentence). The Government selected the targets. The Government designed and built the phony ordnance that the defendants planted (or planned to plant) at Government-selected targets. The Government provided every item used in the plot: cameras, cell phones, cars, maps and even a gun. The Government did all the driving (as none of the defendants had a car or a driver’s license). The Government funded the entire project. And the Government, through its agent, offered the defendants large sums of money, contingent on their participation in the heinous scheme.

Additionally, before deciding that the defendants (particularly Cromitie, who was in their sights for nine months) presented any real danger, the Government appears to have done minimal due diligence, relying instead on reports from its Confidential Informant, who passed on information about Cromitie information that could easily have been verified (or not verified, since much of it was untrue), but that no one thought it necessary to check before offering a jihadist opportunity to a man who had no contact with any extremist groups and no history of anything other than drug crimes.

One of the reporters who has most extensively covered the FBI’s role in manufacturing terrorism cases it then proceeds to “break up” is Trevor Aaronson. In 2011, he documented, working with the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkeley, that of 508 post-9/11 terrorism defendants, “nearly half the prosecutions involved the use of informants, many of them incentivized by money.” After 9/11, the FBI’s budget-increasing, power-enhancing strategy was to target “tens of thousands of law-abiding people, seeking to identify those disgruntled few who might participate in a plot given the means and the opportunity” by monitoring their social media postings, and “then, in case after case, the government provides the plot, the means, and the opportunity.” Of the terrorism arrests from sting operations, almost 1/3 were ones in which “defendants participated in plots led by an agent provocateur—an FBI operative instigating terrorist action.”


It is this long history and mountain of evidence that compels an investigation into the role played by the FBI in the planning of the 1/6 riot at the Capitol. And it is that same evidence that made the corporate media’s derisive reaction to such demands — as voiced by Darren Beattie’s Revolver NewsFox News’ Tucker Carlson and myself — so ignorant and subservient. They acted as if only some unhinged conspiracy theorist could possibly believe that the FBI would have informants and agents embedded in the groups that planned that Capitol riot rather than what it is: the only logical conclusion for anyone who knows how the FBI actually behaves.

Indeed, the BuzzFeed reporters who investigated the FBI’s key role in the Michigan case must have been very disturbed by what they found since they used their reporting to raise that taboo topic: what role did the FBI have in 1/6? Moreover, they asked, is this yet another era where the FBI is targeting Americans not for criminality but for their political views, and then orchestrating their own plots that justify the U.S. security state’s massive budget and unlimited powers?

Instead, [the accused] say, they were targeted because of their political views. Some describe the case as a premeditated campaign by the government to undermine the Patriot movement, an ideology based on fealty to the Second Amendment and the conviction that the government has violated the Constitution and is therefore illegitimate. They argue that the recordings and text messages that the government calls proof of a criminal conspiracy are in fact constitutionally protected speech — expressions of frustration at what they see as the government’s betrayal of its citizens.

The Michigan case is unfolding at another fraught moment in American history. In court, the government has drawn a direct line between the alleged kidnapping plot and the Jan. 6 insurrection, holding up the storming of the US Capitol as evidence that the Michigan defendants posed a profound threat. . . . [I]f the defense is able to undermine the methods used to build the Michigan case, it could add weight to the theory that the administration is conducting a witch hunt against militant groups — and, by extension, that the Jan. 6 insurrection was a black op engineered by the FBI.

When Carlson raised these same questions on his Fox program, he did what I did when doing so: cited my reporting as well as Trevor Aaronson’s about the FBI’s long history of orchestrating such plots and luring people into them using informants and undercover agents. Much of that reporting about the FBI’s tactics was published by The Intercept, which — when aimed at American Muslims during the First War on Terror — had an editorial view that it was extremely improper and dangerous for the FBI to do this. But now that it is being done to American anti-government activists on the right, the site’s liberal editors seem happy about it. They got Aaronson to write an article under the headline “Tucker Carlson Distorted My Reporting in His Latest Jan. 6 Conspiracy Theory.”

But that headline was an absolute lie. There was nothing in Aaronson’s article that pointed to any “distortions” in how Carlson (or I) cited Aaronson’s work. To the contrary, Aaronson himself acknowledged that the FBI’s past history — including in the Whitmer case — made such questions highly rational and necessary:

In many of these stings, informants or undercover agents provided all the money and weapons for terrorist plots, and sometimes even the ideas — raising significant questions about whether any of these people would have committed the crimes were it not for the FBI’s encouragement. Many targets of these FBI stings were mentally ill or otherwise easily manipulated. . . .

Carlson’s claim fits an existing and well-established argument: that the FBI creates crimes through aggressive stings where no crimes would otherwise exist. . . . I think it’s worth noting that there’s a reason for the cultural stickiness of the claim by Revolver and Carlson. It might be a conspiracy theory, but it’s not exactly “baseless,” as the Post described it. That’s because there are genuine concerns that the sting tactics used over the past two decades against impressionable Muslims will be used against equally impressionable Americans with right-wing ideologies. In the supposed plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, for example, FBI agents and an informant played significant roles, raising the same question that surrounds so many supposed Islamic State and Al Qaeda cases in the United States: Would this plot have happened were it not for the FBI?

In addition, there is evidence the FBI is assigning informants to infiltrate groups based solely on right-wing ideology. And the increase in right-wing violence in recent years has prompted calls for new anti-terorrism laws that would give the FBI even more power.

I think the FBI’s investigation of potential right-wing threats, and the degree to which the bureau replicates its abusive post-9/11 tactics, will be a critically important story in the coming years. How news organizations report on it will be a significant test.

While Aaronson insists that no proof has yet been presented that the FBI had foreknowledge of the 1/6 plot or encouraged it to happen, and also seized on a minor error in the Revolver News article originally raising these questions about “confidential informants” — an error I noted in my own article about this topic while explaining that it was ancillary and insignificant to the overall question — Aaronson’s article has far more in common with the primary theme raised by Carlson than it does arguments that Carlson “distorted” anything. In particular, Aaronson writes, the FBI’s ample history requires a serious investigation into the role it may have played in knowing about and/or encouraging the 1/6 plotters.

As I documented in my own reporting on this question, there is ample evidence to believe that the FBI had informants embedded in at least two of three key groups it says were behind the 1/6 Capitol riot. As I noted at the time, most of the corporate press spewed contempt and scorn on these questions because 1/6 has become an event that carries virtually religious importance to them, and their reverence for the U.S. security state makes them resistant to any suggestions that the FBI may have acted deceitfully — an utterly bizarre mindset for U.S. journalists to possess. But such is the state of the liberal sector of the corporate press today.

Now that one of their own liberal members in good standing — BuzzFeed — has not only proven the FBI’s key role in the Whitmer plot but also themselves suggested that it makes more plausible the bureau’s involvement in 1/6, these questions are becoming increasingly unavoidable. Both the Whitmer plot and especially 1/6 are absolutely crucial to everything that has happened since: the launch of the new War on Terror, billions more in funds for the security state, proposals for greater surveillance, Biden’s use of the intelligence community to insist that anti-government activists constitute the greatest threat to U.S. national security. Asking what role the FBI played in the episode at the Capitol is not only rational but imperative.

July 24, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | 4 Comments

From COINTELPRO to Whitmer Kidnapping Plot: FBI ‘Manufactures’ Terrorism to Fight It

By Ekaterina Blinova – Sputnik – 23.07.2021

The FBI’s extensive role in Governor Whitmer’s case has once again raised the question of the bureau’s possible infiltration of the Capitol riots, says independent American journalist Max Parry, citing the federal agency’s long record of incitement, including the infamous COINTELPRO.

On 20 July, BuzzFeed reported that at least 12 FBI informants had infiltrated the group behind the Governor Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot. What’s more, these informants were not passively sitting there wearing wires but were actively involved with the group. One of them, an Iraq War veteran, rose to become the second-in-command of the Michigan militant group, taught the members of the militia military tactics, told them to convene with other potential suspects, and even paid for their transportation.

Yet another plotter who advised the militia on where to place explosives and offered to get them as much as the task would require turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, according to the media outlet.

Prior to this, members of the militia group stormed the State Capitol in April 2020 as part of a larger crowd that entered the building wearing protective gear and carrying rifles to protest against Whitmer’s COVID restrictions.

​At the time, the US mainstream media largely blamed Trump for the April riot and the kidnapping plot, citing his Twitter posts targeting the state’s Democratic governor.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson picked up the BuzzFeed story raising the question as to what extent the FBI directed the Michigan militia’s conduct in both cases and reiterated his earlier assumption that the agency could have infiltrated and instigated the January 6th protests as well.

Could the FBI Have Organised 1/6?

“The new revelations about the extent to which informants were involved in the devising of the plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer raises serious questions about 1/6”, says independent American journalist Max Parry. “If they were encouraging, arranging, and directing the Michigan extremists to try and capture the governor, they very well could have planned, controlled, and engineered the storming of the US Capitol if the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and other groups were as heavily penetrated by law enforcement as believed”.

This brings up the question: “Would the storming of Congress have happened without the instigations of undercover informants?”, the journalist notes.

According to Parry, there are reasons to believe that the militia groups participating in the Capitol siege in DC could have been infiltrated by federal agents, given it is known that Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio used to be an FBI informant. For its part, on 30 June, Revolver Newspresumed that Stewart Rhodes, the founder and the leader of The Oath Keepers, America’s largest militia, could possibly be in cahoots with the bureau.

​Per the media, it appears suspicious that while the DoJ has enough evidence to jail the leader of “the most extensively prosecuted paramilitary group” in connection with the Capitol riots, he, unlike his group mates, has not been arrested.

In any event, the bureau cannot deny that they, at the very least, had foreknowledge of the apparent 1/6 plot, Parry notes. A US Senate report last month detailed the intelligence failures leading up to the Capitol attack where the FBI and DHS dismissed the credibility of online rhetoric calling for violence.

FBI’s Long Record of Incitement

The mainstream media in America is dismissing the claims that the FBI could have played a role in the siege. Tucker Carlson, who suggested in June that federal agents may have helped organise the riot, was immediately called a conspiracy theorist. However, this assumption by no means sounds outlandish given the FBI’s long record of incitement.

On 21 June, Revolver News listed at least five cases when the bureau did just that, including the 1993 attempt to blow up the World Trade Centre and the agency’s infamous 15-year Counter Intelligence Programme (COINTELPRO) best-known for spying on Martin Luther King Jr.

COINTELPRO, which aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting political organisations and movements perceived as “subversive” by then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, officially ran from 1956-1971. The tactics included smearing individuals and groups by using forged documents and by planting false reports in the media, IRS audits, harassment, incitement, warrantless surveillance and surreptitious entries, incarcerations on false pretexts, withholding exculpatory evidence, targeted assassinations, etc.

In June 1975, the American Civil Liberties Union submitted a report for Senate investigators on the Secret Army Organisation (SAO), a South California paramilitary group that was reportedly funded by the bureau to commit acts of violence and intimidation against left-wingers and their sympathisers between 1971 and 1972.

In 1976, American lawmakers detailed the methods of the FBI’s covert operation in a 994-page report and concluded that “many techniques used would be intolerable in a democratic society even if all its targets had been involved in violent activity but COINTELPRO went far beyond that”. Still, the bureau insisted that all of these were for the greater good, i.e. to protect national security and deter violence by “preventing the growth of dangerous groups and the propagation of dangerous ideas”.

It appears, however, that COINTELPRO tactics have still been used by the FBI, judging from the controversial Operation Crossfire Razor targeting General Michael Flynn, the details of which was exposed during his trial, or the bureau’s FISA abuses aimed at extending spying on Donald Trump aide Carter Page. Likewise, the DoJ and FBI’s extensive manhunt for January Sixers accompanied with pre-dawn raids, interrogations without an attorney, harassment, and apparent human rights abuses of detained January 6th defendants evoke strong memories of the 15-year intelligence op. One might wonder whether a loose network of Antifa militants who harassed US citizens and clashed with conservative groups during the 2020 summer riots was also in some sense inspired by COINTELPRO.

“The common thread throughout these operations where federal law enforcement orchestrates and participates in terror plots is exploiting individuals who are an easy target and prone to militancy, be it religious fanaticism or political extremism at either end of the spectrum”, highlights Parry. “Amid the current political climate in the country, the threat of right-wing extremism is most suitable to this particular time. During COINTELPRO, the target was the anti-war movement, the civil rights movement, and the political left. In the War on Terror, the aim was combating Islamic extremism. Recently we’ve seen how the bureau’s mission has shifted its focus to right-wing militia groups”.

What’s happening now is that with the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021 and USA Patriot Act’s subsequent redefining of homegrown terrorism, “the national security apparatus is manufacturing the threats needed to broaden its surveillance state and unconstitutional powers at this particular historical moment”, the journalists presumes.

The Left Should be Alarmed

The American Left should not be deluded by the government having shifted its focus to the right and pro-Trump groups, says Parry.

“Following January 6th we have seen Democrats leading the charge for new domestic terror laws”, he stresses. “The left should have the sense to understand that these new expanded powers for the security state will inevitably be used against them and will backfire, especially given the precedent set by history and COINTELPRO. These are lawless and rogue agencies with no transparency or accountability and the FBI in particular routinely impedes oversight and goes totally out of bounds of the US Constitution”.

According to the journalist, “it is particularly disturbing the way the national security complex has managed to rehabilitate its image overnight during the Trump era where high-ranking intelligence officials and FBI directors have become media darlings and liberal heroes”.

Yet, in both the Whitmer case and, possibly, on 6 January, “the FBI has put the public at greater risk under the guise of protecting it and manufactured terrorism in the name of fighting it”, Parry concludes.

July 23, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment