9/11 Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key 9/11 Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
For 30 years, Lew Ellingson loved being a telephone man. His job splicing phone cables was one that he says gave him “a true sense of accomplishment,” first for Northwestern Bell, then US West and finally Qwest Communications International. But by the time Mr. Ellingson retired from Qwest last year at 52, he had grown angry. An insider trading scandal had damaged the company’s reputation, and the life savings of former colleagues had evaporated in the face of Qwest’s stock troubles. “It was a good place,” he said wistfully. “And then something like this happened.” Now, Mr. Ellingson is the public face of a proposed ballot measure in Colorado that seeks to create what supporters hope will be the nation’s toughest corporate fraud law. Buttressed by local advocacy groups and criticized by a Colorado business organization, the measure would make business executives criminally responsible if their companies run afoul of the law. It would also permit any Colorado resident to sue the executives under such circumstances. Proceeds from successful suits would go to the state. If passed by voters in November, the proposal would leave top business officers [with] unprecedented individual accountability, said Mr. Ellingson. “If nothing else, these folks in charge of the corporations and companies will think twice about cutting corners to make themselves look more profitable than they really are,” he said. The plight of Mr. Ellingson’s former employer, Qwest, based in Denver, was a motivation for the proposal. Last April, a jury in Denver convicted Qwest’s former chief executive, Joseph P. Nacchio, of 19 of 42 counts of insider trading. Mr. Nacchio was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $19 million and forfeit $52 million in money he earned from stock sales in 2001.
Note: As reported in the Washington Post, Joseph P. Nacchio, the former Qwest CEO, has claimed that he was singled out for prosecution because he refused to cooperate with the National Security Agency's electronic surveillance of American citizens, which began before 9/11.
After the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the levee failures caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the federal government paid the American Society of Civil Engineers to investigate what went wrong. Critics now accuse [ASCE] of covering up engineering mistakes ... and using the investigations to protect engineers and government agencies from lawsuits. In the World Trade Center case, critics contend the engineering society wrongly concluded skyscrapers cannot withstand getting hit by airplanes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency paid the group about $257,000 to investigate the World Trade Center collapse. In 2002, the society's report on the World Trade Center praised the buildings for remaining standing long enough to allow tens thousands of people to flee. But, the report said, skyscrapers are not typically designed to withstand airplane impacts. Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, a structural engineer and forensics expert, contends his computer simulations disprove the society's findings that skyscrapers could not be designed to withstand the impact of a jetliner. Astaneh-Asl, who received money from the National Science Foundation to investigate the collapse, insisted most New York skyscrapers built with traditional designs would survive such an impact. He also questioned the makeup of the society's investigation team. On the team were the wife of the trade center's structural engineer and a representative of the buildings' original design team. "I call this moral corruption," said Astaneh-Asl, who is on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley.
Note: For a revealing two-page summary of many unanswered questions about 9/11 raised by major media sources, click here.
The members of Mike Hurley's [9/11 Commisson investigative] team were ... alarmed by the revelations, week by week, month by month, of how close the commission's chief director, Philip Zelikow, was to Rice and others at the White House. They learned early on about Zelikow's work on the Bush transition team in 2000 and early 2001, and about how much antipathy there was between him and ["Counterterrorism Czar"] Richard Clarke. They heard the stories about Zelikow's role in developing the "pre-emptive war" strategy at the White House in 2002. Zelikow's friendships with Rice and others were a particular problem for Warren Bass, since Rice and Clarke were at the heart of his part of the investigation. It was clear to some members of team that they could not have an open discussion in front of Zelikow about Rice and her performance as National Security Adviser. For Hurley's team, there was a reverse problem with Clarke. It was easy to talk about Clarke in Zelikow's presence, as long as the conversation centred on Clarke's failings at the NSC and his purported dishonesty. Long before Bass had seen Clarke's files, Zelikow made it clear to the team's investigators that Clarke should not be believed, that his testimony would be suspect. He argued that Clarke was a braggart who would try to rewrite history to justify his errors and slander his enemies, Rice in particular.
Note: This critique of the close ties to the White House of Philip Zelikow, Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, is an excerpt from Philip Shenon's new book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation. For an even deeper analysis of the Commission's failings, read WantToKnow.info team member David Ray Griffin's book, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions.
Oscar-winning Marion Cotillard was facing embarrasment with her new American public last night after it emerged that she doubted the official account of the September 11 attacks. The 32-year-old French star has swept this year’s best actress awards, also receiving a Bafta, Golden Globe and a César for her performance as singer Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose. But the actress faces a potential backlash in the US over comments she made in an interview in France. Footage which surfaced on the internet showed her questioning the New York terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. "I think we’re lied to about a number of things," she said, singling out September 11. Referring to the two passenger jets flown into the World Trade Centre, Miss Cotillard said: "We see other towers of the same kind being hit by planes, are they burned? There was a tower, I believe it was in Spain, which burned for 24 hours. It never collapsed. None of these towers collapsed. And there [New York], in a few minutes, the whole thing collapsed." Miss Cotillard suggested that the towers, planned in the early 1960s, were an outdated "money sucker" which would have cost so much to modernise that it was easier to destroy them. Miss Cotillard, who was born and brought up in Paris, made the comments on Paris Premičre – Paris Derničre (Paris First – Paris Last), a programme first broadcast a year ago. They were largely ignored at the time, but appeared yesterday on a French website. Miss Cotillard’s film career began in Luc Besson’s 1998 film Taxi.
Note: For a revealing summary of many unanswered questions about what happened on 9/11, click here.
Most Americans have never heard of Sibel Edmonds, and if the U.S. government has its way, they never will. The former FBI translator turned whistle-blower tells a chilling story of corruption at Washington's highest levels – sale of nuclear secrets, shielding of terrorist suspects, illegal arms transfers, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, espionage. Ms. Edmonds' account is full of dates, places and names. And if she is to be believed, a treasonous plot to embed moles in American military and nuclear installations and pass sensitive intelligence to Israeli, Pakistani and Turkish sources was facilitated by figures in the upper echelons of the State and Defense Departments. Her charges could be easily confirmed or dismissed if classified government documents were made available to investigators. But Congress has refused to act, and the Justice Department has shrouded Ms. Edmonds' case in the state-secrets privilege, a rarely used measure so sweeping that it precludes even a closed hearing attended only by officials with top-secret security clearances. Ms. Edmonds' revelations have attracted corroboration in the form of anonymous letters apparently written by FBI employees. There have been frequent reports of FBI field agents being frustrated by the premature closure of cases dealing with foreign spying, particularly when those cases involve Israel, and the State Department has frequently intervened to shut down investigations based on "sensitive foreign diplomatic relations." Curiously, the state-secrets gag order binding Ms. Edmonds, while put in place by DOJ in 2002, was not requested by the FBI but by the State Department and Pentagon – which employed individuals she identified as being involved in criminal activities. If her allegations are frivolous, that order would scarcely seem necessary.
Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday. Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence. Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than Ł1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE. He was accused in yesterday's high court hearings of flying to London in December 2006 and uttering threats which made the prime minister, Tony Blair, force an end to the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery allegations involving Bandar and his family. The threats halted the fraud inquiry. Lord Justice Moses, hearing the civil case with Mr Justice Sullivan, said the government appeared to have "rolled over" after the threats. He said one possible view was that it was "just as if a gun had been held to the head" of the government. The SFO investigation began in 2004, when Robert Wardle, its director, studied evidence unearthed by the Guardian. This revealed that massive secret payments were going from BAE to Saudi Arabian princes, to promote arms deals. Yesterday, anti-corruption campaigners began a legal action to overturn the decision to halt the case. They want the original investigation restarted, arguing the government had caved into blackmail.
Note: This report comes very close to confirming the close link between terrorist attacks and high-level policy of certain states. For many revealing clues along these lines from reliable sources, click here.
Texas icon Willie Nelson said on a nationally syndicated radio show that he questions the official story of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City. "I certainly do," Nelson said ... when asked by talk-show host Alex Jones. "I saw those towers fall and I've seen an implosion in Las Vegas, there's too much similarities between the two. And I saw the building fall that didn't get hit by nothing," the singer-songwriter said. "So, how naive are we, you know, what do they think we'll go for?" Nelson, 74, said that if he were president, he would "stop the damn war, it's just that simple." He said he doesn't [understand] why if Saudi Arabians "hit us in New York ... we go jump on Afghanistan." Nelson's publicist would not comment on the remarks.
Note: For an ABC video clip of this news, click here.
The 9/11 Commission suspected that critical information it used in its ... Report was the product of harsh interrogations of al-Qaida operatives - interrogations that many critics have labeled torture. Yet, commission staffers never questioned the agency about the interrogation techniques and in fact ordered a second round of interrogations specifically to ask additional questions of the same operatives. Much of what was reported about the planning and execution of the terror attacks on New York and Washington was derived from the interrogations of high-ranking al-Qaida operatives. Each had been subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques." Some were even subjected to waterboarding. There was a separate, second round of interrogations in early 2004, done specifically to answer new questions from the Commission, [involving] more than 30 separate interrogation sessions. According to both current and former senior U.S. intelligence officials, the operatives cited by the Commission were subjected to the harshest of the CIA’s methods, the "enhanced interrogation techniques." The techniques included physical and mental abuse, exposure to extreme heat and cold, sleep deprivation and waterboarding. In addition, officials of both the 9/11 Commission and CIA confirm the Commission specifically asked the agency to push the operatives on a new round of interrogations months after their first interrogations. The Commission, in fact, supplied specific questions for the operatives to the agency. This new round took place in early 2004, when the agency was still engaged in the full range of harsh techniques.
Note: WantToKnow team member and renowned theologian David Ray Griffin's detailed exposure of the many lies put forth by the 9/11 Commission is available here. And for a succinct, eye-opening summary of many unanswered questions about the official account of 9/11, click here.
The former executive director of the 9/11 Commission denies explosive charges of undisclosed ties to the Bush White House or interference with the panel's report. The charges are ... contained in New York Times reporter Philip Shenon's [new] book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, [and are] confirmed by the book's publisher. [When] 9/11 Commission co-chairs [Thomas] Kean and Lee Hamilton hired former Condoleezza Rice aide Philip Zelikow to be executive director, Zelikow failed to tell them ... that he was "instrumental" in demoting Richard Clarke, the onetime White House counterterrorism czar. In his book, Shenon also says that while working for the panel, Zelikow appears to have had private conversations with former White House political director Karl Rove, despite a ban on such communication. Shenon reports that Zelikow later ordered his assistant to stop keeping a log of his calls. Zelikow told ABC News he was under no prohibition that barred his conversations with Rove, and did not recall asking his assistant to stop logging his calls. Shenon directed calls to his publisher, Twelve Books, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group. Cary Goldstein, a spokesman for Hachette, confirmed the [above] characterization of the book's contents, but said he could not confirm direct quotes. "It's not a surprise," Goldstein said when asked his reaction to the leak of the book's details before its Feb. 5 publication date. "I think people are really curious to see what the report had looked like if it hadn't been neutered in [the panel's] effort to be unanimous."
Note: Philip Zelikow co-authored a 1998 Foreign Affairs article, "Catastrophic Terrorism: Tackling the New Danger," which warned of a possible catastrophic attack on the World Trade Center and accurately predicted the governmental aftermath of 9/11. And a highly significant fact is that before he was selected as Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, he authored the Bush administration's National Security Strategy of the United States of America for 2002. This document for the first time asserted a national policy of pre-emptive war (the "Bush Doctrine"), and paved the way for the war on Iraq.
More than five years ago, Congress and President Bush created the 9/11 commission. Soon after its creation, the president’s chief of staff directed all executive branch agencies to cooperate with the commission. The commission’s mandate was sweeping and it explicitly included the intelligence agencies. But the recent revelations that the C.I.A. destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation. No one in the administration ever told the commission of the existence of videotapes of detainee interrogations. We did ask, repeatedly, for the kind of information that would have been contained in such videotapes. Beginning in June 2003, we requested all reports of intelligence information ... that had been gleaned from the interrogations of 118 named individuals, including both Abu Zubaydah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, two senior Qaeda operatives, portions of whose interrogations were apparently recorded and then destroyed. The C.I.A. gave us many reports summarizing information gained in the interrogations. But the reports raised almost as many questions as they answered. So, in October 2003, we sent another wave of questions to the C.I.A.’s general counsel. The general counsel responded in writing with non-specific replies. The agency did not disclose that any interrogations had ever been recorded or that it had held any further relevant information, in any form. Government officials decided not to inform a lawfully constituted body, created by Congress and the president, to investigate one the greatest tragedies to confront this country. We call that obstruction.
Note: The authors of this op-ed, Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, served as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the 9/11 Commission.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the federal government had warnings about 9/11 but decided to ignore them, a national survey found. Sixty-two percent of those polled thought it was "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that federal officials turned a blind eye to specific warnings of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Only 30 percent said the 9/11 theory was "not likely," according to the Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll. The findings followed a 2006 poll by the same researchers, who found that 36 percent of Americans believe federal government officials "either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action" because they wanted "to go to war in the Middle East." In that poll, 16 percent said the Twin Towers might have collapsed because of secretly planted explosives - not hijacked passenger jets flown into them. And what hit the Pentagon? Twelve percent figured it was a US cruise missile. In the latest Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll, 811 US adults were interviewed Sept. 24 to Oct. 10. Among [other] findings: 42 percent believe the federal government knew in advance of the plot to assassinate John F. Kennedy, compared with 40 percent who call that theory "not likely." 37 percent believe UFOs are real and that the feds have been hiding the truth about them. Eight out of 10 Americans suspect oil companies are conspiring to keep fuel prices high and 50 percent said a conspiracy is "very likely." Only 14 percent felt it was unlikely.
Note: We normally don't use the New York Post as a reliable source. Yet this key news is based on a very reliable poll, which you can read in the Scripps News Service report available here. Sadly, the Post was the only major newspaper to pick up this important news, and they took a heavy editorial slant against 9/11 truth. For a concise summary of major media reports suggesting that the official account of 9/11 cannot be true, click here.
Bradblog has been chasing the story about former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds' offer to 'tell all.' [Daniel] Ellsberg says: "I'd say what she has is far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers. From what [Edmonds] has to tell, it has a major difference from the Pentagon Papers in that it deals directly with criminal activity and may involve impeachable offenses. And I don't necessarily mean the President or the Vice-President, though I wouldn't be surprised if the information reached up that high. But other members of the Executive Branch may be impeached as well. There will be phone calls going out to the media saying 'don't even think of touching [Edmonds' case], you will be prosecuted for violating national security.'" [Edmonds] said: "The media called from Japan and France and Belgium and Germany and Canada and from all over the world. I'm getting contact from all over the world, but not from here." More Ellsberg: "I am confident that there is conversation inside the Government as to 'How do we deal with Sibel?' The first line of defense is to ensure that she doesn't get into the media. I think any outlet that thought of using her materials would go to the government and they would be told 'don't touch this, it's communications intelligence.' As long as they hold a united front on this, they don't run the risk of being shamed." [Edmonds:] "I will name the name of major publications who know the story, and have been sitting on it --- almost a year and a half." "How do you know they have the story?," we asked. "I know they have it because people from the FBI have come in and given it to them. They've given them the documents and specific case-numbers on my case."
Note: Though this is not from one of our normal reliable sources, Dan Ellsberg is a highly respected whistleblower who has received an abundance of major media coverage over the years. As the mainstream media are clearly and consciously ignoring this story, we felt it deserved to be posted, even though we don't have a major media source to back it up. For lots more reliable information on this courageous woman, click here.
They were smart, scrappy brothers who rose from modest circumstances in Baltimore to become lacrosse stars at Princeton, succeed in business and land big government jobs. Now the Krongard brothers — who have carried childhood nicknames, Buzzy and Cookie, through long careers — are tied up in the tangled story of Blackwater, the security contractor accused in the deaths of at least 17 Iraqis while guarding a State Department convoy in Baghdad. The shorthand version boils their involvement down to that Washington catchall conflict of interest. The full story appears more complicated. Alvin [Buzzy] Krongard, 71, ... left a $4 million-a-year job in investment banking to serve in top posts at the Central Intelligence Agency from 1998 to 2004. Buzzy Krongard spoke [to the New York Times] in his 15,000-square-foot Georgian mansion, Torch Hill, north of Baltimore. After rising to the helm of Alex. Brown & Sons, the venerable Baltimore investment banking firm, Buzzy Krongard oversaw its acquisition by Bankers Trust in 1997 and left the next year for the C.I.A., as a counselor to George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence. He became executive director, the No. 3 post, in 2001 and helped design the agency’s secret detention program after the Sept. 11 attacks. Buzzy Krongard vigorously defends Blackwater’s record in Iraq. “It’s very easy to second-guess them when you’re sitting back in an air-conditioned office,” he said.
Note: Buzzy Krongard took quite a cut in pay to move from Bankers Trust to the comparatively modest salary of even a high-ranking CIA position. Bankers Trust was purchased by the same company that placed the highly unusual and suspicious "put options" on United Airlines stock just days before 9/11. For a powerful summary of similarly strange, unexplained facts related to 9/11, click here.
"I am not my brother's keeper," Howard "Cookie" Krongard, the State Department's inspector general, testified to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee yesterday. As Cookie surely must know, that excuse hasn't worked since Genesis. In this case, the players weren't Cain and Abel, but Cookie and his brother Buzzy. Cookie, under fire for allegedly quashing probes of the infamous Blackwater security contractor, began his testimony by angrily denying the "ugly rumors" that his brother, former CIA official Alvin "Buzzy" Krongard, is on Blackwater's advisory board. But during a recess, Cookie called Buzzy and learned that -- gulp -- the ugly rumors are true: His brother is on the board. When the lawmakers returned, Cookie revised and extended his testimony. "I had not been aware of that," Cookie told the congressmen. "I hereby recuse myself from any matters having to do with Blackwater." The lawmakers reacted with Old Testament fury. The swaggering Cookie -- he alternately addressed the lawmakers with his thumb in his waistband, slouching in his chair, rolling his eyes and making baffled glances -- had spent the morning aggressively denying the allegations lodged against him: that he had impeded investigations into contracting fraud, including weapons smuggling by Blackwater, and that he had abused his underlings. But then came Buzzy's bombshell -- and Cookie's credibility crumbled. Either he had lied to Congress, or his own brother had lied to him. It was only the latest bit of strangeness for the powerful but eccentric Brothers Krongard. Buzzy [is] known for his cigar chomping, martial arts and recreational workouts with SWAT teams. "Krongard once punched a great white shark in the jaw," his hometown Baltimore Sun reported when he took the No. 3 job at the CIA a decade ago. More recently, Buzzy joined the advisory board of Blackwater, the firm known for its ready trigger fingers in Iraq.
Note: Alvin "Buzzy" Krongard was the Executive Director (the third-highest position) at the CIA on 9/11, and had until 1998 been the head of the firm used to buy many of the "put" options on United Airlines stock made just prior to 9/11 that were never claimed, though this received little media coverage.
David Frost: Does anyone know exactly who was responsible for this assassination attempt? There is one report that said that you arranged to send President Musharraf a letter ... in the event of your death by assassination, urging him to investigate certain individuals in his government. Is that true? Benazir Bhutto: Yes it is true that I wrote to General Musharraf. I feel these are the forces that really want to stop not just me, but the democratic process and the will of the people [from] triumphing. David Frost: In terms of these three people you mentioned where they members of or associated with the government? Benazir Bhutto: One of them is a very key figure in security. He is a former military officer. He is someone who has had dealings with Jaish-e-Mohammad, one of the band [of] groups of Maulana Masood Azhar, who was in an Indian jail for decapitating three British tourists and three American tourists. And he also had dealings with Omar Shiekh, who murdered Osama bin Laden.
Note: The key statement on bin Laden's murder happens at minute five in the video at the above link. If the link fails, click here. For a Jan. 9, 2010 BBC article also suggesting bin Laden may already have been dead years earlier and that his death had been covered up, click here. Bhutto was assassinated not long after this interview on Dec. 27, 2007.
When [the] first Osama Bin Laden video in nearly three years [appeared], most of the media attention was focused on Bin Laden's beard. It appeared either dyed — or perhaps even pasted on. He was ridiculed and a variety of theories were offered to explain it. But now, there is a running debate among video analysts about whether, rather than being new, the September 7 [video] may have been something recorded at the same time as [the] last video in October 2004 (and then released with new audio). Of the 25 minutes of video tape, only three and a half minutes, were moving video. The rest was covered by a still image or a frozen still. Moreover, the still covered the only time references on the 25 minutes of tape— references to political developments in Iraq, Britain and France. This led to the suspicion that the video is not new, but disguised to appear as new. The leading proponent of the theory is computer scientist ... Dr. Neal Krawetz of Colorado ... who [says] that the similarities between the October 29, 2004 tape and the September 7, 2007 tape are too great to be coincidental. “Here is Bin Laden in the same clothing, same studio, same studio setup, and same desk three years later,” [said] Krawetz ... in an interview with NBC News. “In fact, [the] papers that he reads are moved between the exact same stacks. What are the chances of nothing changing (except his beard) in three years? Virtually zero. The clips appear to have been recorded three years ago. I am saying the two videos were likely made either on the same day or within days of each other.” The CIA will not say what it thinks about the possibility, but a senior U.S. intelligence official tells NBC News the U.S. believes the tape is new. He would not discuss the reasons why intelligence analysts feel that way.
Note: For a succinct summary of many reports from major media sources that suggest the US government's explanation of what happened on 9/11 cannot be true, click here.
It's the conundrum that faces all television personalities broadcasting live: how to deal with hecklers trying to disrupt the show. Do you ignore the perpetrators? Do you try to reason with them? Or do you do what the American comic and talk show host Bill Maher did - jump into the audience, threaten the hecklers with an "ass kicking" and scream "Get the fuck out of my building!" In one of the more unconventional displays of audience interaction on US television in recent years, that is now doing hot trade as a clip on YouTube, Maher reacted to the interruptions of hecklers in his studio audience with the memorable words: "Do we have some fucking security in this building?" He then tore off his lapel microphone and stormed off the stage and up to some protesters wielding "expose the 9/11 cover-up" banners. It was at that point during a panel discussion on his HBO show, Real Time With Bill Maher, that the nature of the comic's difficulties with an element of his audience became clear. Maher is a darling of the US liberal intelligentsia for his brand of Bush-bashing and anti-religious pedantry. But the one point over which he will not bash the Bush administration is the events of September 11 2001. He does not agree with 9/11 conspiracy theorists, or Truthers as they call themselves, that the Bush administration brought down the Twin Towers in a controlled explosion. The trouble started a few weeks ago when Maher launched a verbal assault on air against the Truthers, calling them "crazy people". He advised the conspiracy theorists, who had been demonstrating outside his studio, to visit their doctor to ask whether the antidepressant Paxil was right for them. In 2002 ABC ended its relationship with him over comments he made in his former show, Politically Incorrect, about the 9/11 hijackers.
Note: To watch Bill Maher's performance on YouTube, click here. For a concise summary of reliable reports from major media sources which raise many unanswered questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.
Over the past four years, the amount of money the State Department pays to private security and law enforcement contractors has soared to nearly $4 billion a year from $1 billion, ... but ... the department had added few new officials to oversee the contracts. Auditors and outside exerts say the results have been vast cost overruns, poor contract performance and, in some cases, violence that has so far gone unpunished. A vast majority of the money goes to companies like DynCorp International and Blackwater [Worldwide] to protect diplomats overseas, train foreign police forces and assist in drug eradication programs. There are only 17 contract compliance officers at the State Department’s management bureau overseeing spending of the billions of dollars on these programs, officials said. Two new reports have delivered harsh judgments about the State Department’s handling of the contracts, including the protective services contract that employs Blackwater guards whose involvement in a Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad has raised questions about their role in guarding American diplomats in Iraq. The ballooning budget for outside contracts at the State Department is emblematic of a broader trend, contracting experts say. The Bush administration has doubled the amount of government money going to all types of contractors to $400 billion, creating a new and thriving class of post-9/11 corporations carrying out delicate work for the government. But the number of government employees issuing, managing and auditing contracts has barely grown. “That’s a criticism that’s true of not just State but of almost every agency,” said Jody Freeman, an expert on administrative law at Harvard Law School.
“Bush lies” doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves. By any legal standards except those rubber-stamped by Alberto Gonzales, we are practicing torture, and we have known we are doing so ever since photographic proof emerged from Abu Ghraib more than three years ago. As Andrew Sullivan, once a Bush cheerleader, observed last weekend in The Sunday Times of London, America’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques have a grotesque provenance: “Verschärfte Vernehmung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the ‘third degree.’ It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation.” We must ... examine our own responsibility for the hideous acts committed in our name in a war where we have now fought longer than we did in the one that put Verschärfte Vernehmung on the map. The war was sold by a ... fear-fueled White House propaganda campaign designed to stampede a nation still shellshocked by 9/11. Both Congress and the press — the powerful institutions that should have provided the checks, balances and due diligence of the administration’s case — failed to do their job. Had they done so, more Americans might have raised more objections. This perfect storm of democratic failure began at the top. [But] as the war has dragged on, it is hard to give Americans en masse a pass. We are too slow to notice, let alone protest, the calamities that have followed the original sin. Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those “good Germans” who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo.
A former Qwest Communications International executive, appealing a conviction for insider trading, has alleged that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal. Former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks ... about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records. In the court filings disclosed this week, Nacchio suggests that Qwest's refusal to take part in that program led the government to cancel a separate, lucrative contract with the NSA in retribution. He is using the allegation to try to show why his stock sale should not have been considered improper. He has claimed in court papers that he had been optimistic that Qwest would overcome weak sales because of the expected top-secret contract with the government. Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts. In May 2006, USA Today reported that the NSA had been secretly collecting the phone-call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by major telecom firms. Qwest, it reported, declined to participate because of fears that the program lacked legal standing.
Note: The Bush Administration has claimed that the NSA surveillance of the American public was a necessary response to the attacks of 9/11. But this story reveals that the surveillance began before 9/11, shortly after Bush took office. The obvious question is, why? For many other reliable, verifiable reports that suggest the official explanation of the events of 9/11 is false, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.