Thursday, November 18, 2010

J.E. Hoover's tactics back, courtesy of N.Pelosi's Congressional Ethics Office

20 term congressman C.Rangel convicted of 11 of 13 counts of charges by the Office of Congressional Ethics OCE, setup by N.Pelosi in 08 to target and nullify black inluential African American leaders. OCE's own lawyer was forced to admit he didnt see any prove of corruption. J.Hoover era tactique. Yesterday, he was denied a change in legal reps. he'd run out of money after paying $2 mill. +$ for lawyers.
Even if this is a Democratic. lead panel, it's a witchhunt.
I wonder what he did that brought down the wrath of this panel on him?
Oh yeah, that's right, he was a champion of the poor in New York City

Rep. Rangel Walks Out On Congress. Ethics Travesty.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), yesterday walked out on the kangeroo-court hearing of the House Ethics Adjudicatory Subcommittee yesterday, saying that, "I respectfully remove myself," given that the circumstances and principle involved in the proceedings are unacceptable. He gave an eloquent explanation and left the chamber, soon after the hearing was begun.

At immediate issue was the fact that Mr. Rangel is without legal representation right now, which means—given that the Adjudicatory Subcommittee's session was to be on confirming the correctness of facts, in a huge body of recently filed material, they should not proceed if the Congressman is not properly advised and represented. However, the Subcommittee, and Chairman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) were on course to do so regardless.

Rangel addressed this head on. "Fifty years of public service is on the line. I truly believe that I'm not being treated fairly and that history will dictate that notwithstanding the political calendar, I am entitled to a lawyer during this proceeding."

The Subcommittee nonetheless, after a private executive session on the matter, proceeded on their railroading operation. Rangel's office issued a written statement this afternoon.

Yesterday's events throw new focus on Obama's backing for the assault on Rangel, and related operations against Maxine Waters and other veteran black Congressional leaders. Right after the July 22 release of the Statement of Alleged Violation (SAV), a formal list of 13 ridiculous charges against Rangel, Obama said that he hoped the Congressman would "end his career with dignity."

No Legal Representation

Rangel stressed many points about the railroading against him. "A week ago, 80 pages of what can be considered summary judgment was issued, which I think would indicate that this Committee may not be prepared to call witnesses, that this Committee was asked that a judgment be made based on admissions and exhibits." That is exactly what happened, later in the day.

Rangel ridiculed the rush by the Committee, after the two years of slowness. "What does it mean that we have Thanksgiving, Christmas and perhaps Congressional trips, preparing for the next Congress? How far does this go to a person not having counsel, not having due process, because we don't have time?

"Well, I think we ought to find the time. I'm prepared to stay here, to get counsel and to have a hearing on this."

Look at the particulars behind the lack of legal counsel. As Rangel said, "It took two years before this Statement of Alleged Violation was reported." He incurred $2 million in legal fees. Then, on Oct. 7, the Subcommittee finally informed him of the hearing date (Nov. 15). On Oct. 15, his attorneys told him they would need another $1 million to represent him at the hearing, and pulled out—informing the Committee even before their client! The Committee Chairman and Counsel knew this. But Chairman Lofgren sent Rangel a letter Oct. 22, saying that there is no reason for him not to have a lawyer.

The Committee rules don't allow him to have pro bono legal representation either. He can set up a legal fund, but that will take some time. Even if he can get a new legal team together, they will need time to get familiar with the 30,000 pages of testimony, 550 exhibits, and so on.

After Rangel told Lofgren this morning that he had to excuse himself from the proceedings, when she was trying to press him to formally ask for a continuance—the kind of legal action he said, as a citizen, he would not take without a lawyer acting for him, Subcommittee member G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), a judge for 15 years, intervened. Butterfield said that, "Even though the respondent did not specifically make a motion to continue this hearing, I deem his comments to be a motion to continue. And I would like this committee to seriously consider a motion to continue.... I served as a judge in my state for 15 years, and I know the importance of counsel, especially in—in this environment. And so I'm going to ask that we—we deem his statements to be a motion to continue and that we discuss it in executive session."

The Subcommittee did so; they met in private; they turned down the motion, and proceeded anyway as planned.

The Subcommittee Railroading
After Rangel left their proceedings, the Subcommittee continued with their intended railroad agenda, which in short, did the following. They heard from Committee Counsel Blake Chisam, who entered over 550 exhibits, and testified that "the facts are the facts" relating to the 13 charges against Rangel, and they should be accepted by the Subcommittee, and sent on to the full Ethics Committee for that body to rule on the law involved, then recommend punishment.

A telling moment occurred when, under questioning from Rep. Butterfield, committee's lawyer was compelled to admit that he "had seen no evidence of corruption," nor any evidence that Rangel attempted to use his Congressional position to enrich himself. The worst that he could claim, was that Rangel was "overzealous" in some things he had done, and that Rangel was "sloppy" in his personal finances.
Nonetheless, after a private executive session, Lofgren reported that the Subcommittee did officially find that there was "No genuine issue of material fact" in dispute regarding the basis for the Statement of Alleged Violation by Rangel. So after a three-minute public session to report that judgment, the Subcommittee then once again resumed its private deliberations, this time to consider each of the 13 points separately, on whether there is "clear and convincing evidence" that any of the counts have been proved as a matter of law, and then to report them to the full Ethics Committee for follow-up against Rangel.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The meaning and roots of "Austrian School"

When Rand Paul demands austerity, he always says this is how the Austrian School has explained economics to him. In an interview last Sunday, for example, Paul pointed to the Austrian School of Economics outlet, the Cato Institute. He praised Cato's Christopher Edwards for urging the destruction of NASA, Medicare, and Social Security.

The Austrian School is embraced by the European oligarchy in its relentless push for universal fascism.

Let us further situate the foreign enemy which has possessed Rand Paul's mind, the Austrian School economists, and their origin in the Hapsburg-British imperial war against the United States of America.

In 1876 the Hapsburg Emperor Franz Joseph hired Carl Menger (1840-1921), who would become known as the founder of the Austrian School, as tutor to his son, Crown Prince Rudolph. Menger took Prince Rudolph around Europe for three years, acquainting him with the quandary facing the undead feudalist Hapsburg family and their Austro-Hungarian Empire.

- Republic or Empire? -

The United States had recently survived the rebellion of the slave-owners, rebels armed and instigated by the British. The American republic had survived despite the pincers, Rudolf's Uncle Maximilian being put on an imperial throne over Mexico, and British troops occupying Canada.

And Abraham Lincoln's America had counterattacked, by spreading nationalism, protectionist economics, and the drive for modern industry and technological progress, to Germany, Russia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and many other nations.

Carl Menger explained to the Prince how the old feudal oligarchy of bankers and autocrats might maintain their death grip on humanity, against America's energy.

The old form of empire was breaking down. The Inquisition, the New Dark Ages religious police state imposed by the Hapsburgs on Europe, could not stand against the American ideal of separated Church and State. Austrian forces, occupying Italian principalities with mass imprisonment and executions, and Austrian sponsorship of the feudalism-mad Pope Pius IX, could not prevail against Emilio Cavour's genius. An ally of Lincoln's economist Henry Carey, Cavour unified Italy just as Lincoln became the U.S. President.


A new imperialism was required, based on global financial looting and new forms of colonial regimes outside Europe.


Carl Menger explained the new Liberal economics, worked out in concert with the British Empire.

Menger warned the Prince that the enemy doctrine of national sovereignty had spread from the arch-nationalist Lincoln to German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who copied Lincoln's tariffs and railroad-building strategy.

- The Liberal Darkness -

Menger's new dogma, that the State must not be allowed to interfere with financial freedom — the right of imperial financiers to deploy their Money Power — took its place beside other "liberal" anti-republican instruments forged in the Hapsburgs' crypts: pessimism in literature, soulless psychology, deliberate ugliness in art, crazed atonality to overpower Mozart's and Beethoven's beauty. (Carl Menger's brother, the socialist attorney Anton Menger, crystallized this assault on reason and progress into what became known as the Frankfurt School.)

Germans reacted to Menger's polemics against Lincoln and Bismarck by referring derisively to the "Austrian School" — meaning those who argue for the presumed logic of imperial Free Trade economics while declining to discuss any actual history whatsoever. This is the origin of the term, Austrian School, which has identified Menger's disciples such as Hayek and von Mises, Rand Paul's brainwashers.

Here is the Money Power against which the USA has struggled throughout its history.

In Menger's day, the extended royal family of Austria, Britain, and Belgium coordinated with international bankers for nightmare colonial experiments, such as the Congo.

Belgian King Leopold II had married Marie Henriette, archduchess of Austria. Emperor Franz Joseph's brother Maximillian had married Leopold II's sister Carlotta.

Meanwhile, Leopold II's father, Leopold I, had arranged the marriage of his niece, British Queen Victoria, to his nephew Albert.

When Menger's student, Austrian Crown Prince Rudolph, married Leopold II's daughter Stephanie in 1881, she was the heir to the Congo, a giant province of central Africa which her father had made his private property. The Belgian Congo was the scene of such brutality and mass extermination of looted natives, that it has stood since then as the very emblem of the disgrace of latter-day imperialism.

To the present day, the Austrian School and its agents condemn as tyranny Lincoln's insistence that the Union be preserved. The Von Mises Insitute's paid writer Thomas DiLorenzo, in his hilariously misnamed book The Real Lincoln, defends secession and claims that slavery would have ended peacefully if only the United States had been successfully destroyed.

In the last chapter of Friedrich von Hayek's book, The Road to Serfdom, Hayek demands that national governments be prevented from interfering with international trade: a global police force must be set up, to usher in the final world empire of Free Trade.

This is the heritage and rationale of the Austrian School, which teaches Rand Paul that neither the American nor any other people have the right to defend their lives and their families against the Money Power.

Friday, November 12, 2010

California : from 6th economy of the world to model of socio/economic destruction

Just over one month after the fascist Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, announced that he had, once again, solved California's ongoing budget crisis, the Legislative Analysts Office (LAO) announced new figures, showing an even-bigger crisis looming for fiscal year 2011-12. The warning from the LAO included the news that 6.1 billion dollars of the 25.4 billion shortfall will occur in the present year's budget, which ends June 30, 2011. This news prompted Schwarzenegger, who has been engaging, successfully, in the "creative destruction" of the state government, to call a special session, to begin on December 6.

The lying Schwarzenegger told reporters, "While California's economy appears to be showing signs of stabilizing, our job creation and revenues are still lagging." Arnie has repeated virtually the same phrase each year since he assumed the office of Governor -- yet revenues and job creation continue to "lag," or rather, collapse, as California is leading the way in the complete unravelling of the U.S. physical economy, which is then reflected in the decline in revenues, and increased expenses to cover the costs of those who have lost jobs, homes, health insurance, pensions, etc..

The budget "deal" which Arnie rammed through last month included expectations that there would be at least 5.4 billion dollars in federal aid for the state. In fact, Obama's so-called stimulus plan provided only 1.9 billion. It was further revealed that, as this news service correctly pointed out when the "deal" was signed, that nearly one-third of the expected revenues and "savings" which were incorporated in the new budget never materialized, thus adding to the "new" crisis.

In fact, Schwarzenegger has never, once, attempted to "solve" the budget crisis. He was put in office by senior Austrian School fascist George Shultz, for the explicit purpose of the enacting the "creative destruction" of the state government of California. Each successive budget crisis has been "solved" by more cuts, each time more draconian, and more deadly, while ripping away chunks of the protective elements of the state's social service sector. The state and local governments have, in the last year, been forced to enact savage cuts in police and fire protection, education, social welfare, infrastructure, and health care expenditures, while waiting for the "recovery" to kick in.

Thus far, newly-elected Governor Jerry Brown -- a Democrat, whose election occurred as a repudiation of Schwarzenegger -- has offered no program, or ideas, for dealing with the continued crumbling of the state

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Expansion of Cheney's Black Ops Worldwide

It didn't end with Bush and Cheney. In fact, Obama has escalated what is called "black-ops."

On-going abuse of prisoners under the Obama Administration, at a secret "black jail" attached to the larger prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, has just been exposed in a new report issued by the Open Society Foundations on Oct. 14. The report documents consistent use of conditions such as exposure to excessive cold and light, inadequate bedding, inadequate food, sensory deprivation, forced nudity, and the like—all in violation of U.S. Army regulations and Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, and of Obama's own promises to end such abuses and the system of secret prisons.

The report identifies the Bagram "black jail" as a "screening facility" run by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the military's counter-terrorism unit which runs a network of secret prisons, and deploys hit teams around the world for the purpose of "snatch and grabs" and targetted assassinations—much of which is falsely attributed to the CIA. The JSOC also carries out many of the drone bombing raids, especially those which kill civilians, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (U.S. government documents show that the JSOC was also involved in the October 1986 raid against Lyndon LaRouche and his associates, in which the intention was to use the search-and-seizure operation as a cover for the assassination of LaRouche.)

Obama himself is an enthusiast for the JSOC and Special Operations, as The Nation said on Aug. 25, reporting that "the Obama Administration has taken the Bush-era doctrine of the world as a battlefield and run with it." The Nation pointed out that U.S. special forces are now operating in 75 countries around the world, up from 60 under Bush-Cheney, and that "special operations sources say Obama is a major fan of the work of JSOC and other special operations forces."

The Obama Administration has expanded these "black operations" internationally under the authority of a secret order issued by Bush and Cheney in 2004. A special forces source told The Nation that Obama has "let JSOC off the leash." And, the source added, "JSOC has been more empowered more under this administration than any other in recent history. No question."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Desperate Cities Turn Their Fire Departments Into Revenue Machines

September 6, 2010

Imagine that you're in a traffic accident, that's not even your fault, and an ambulance, police, and fire units respond. A few months later you get a bill. A bill for ambulance transport is not unusual, but in these days of economic crises and collapsing budgets, many cities now send out bills for the fire department response, too, to try to reduce their own costs. Police and fire departments are doing this in at least 26 states, says the Property Casualty Insurers Association, which opposes such fees. The AAA also opposes the fees. Jill Ingrassia, the AAA's managing director for government relations and safety advocacy told the New York Times that, "Generally, we see that public safety services are a core government function that should be properly budgeted for with general taxes and not addressed by fees after the fact." Bill collecting agencies, such as Cost Recovery of Dayton, Ohio, are all over the practice, however, since they get a portion, generally 10 percent, of any bills successfully collected, which makes the entire practice suspect.

Meanwhile, the disintegration continues.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why was Machiavelli defamed ?

Machiavelli was, essentially, a follower of the great Leonardo da Vinci who had been driven out of Italy, into a place of relative safety, Amboise, in France. Machiavelli had been a middle-ranking, but important official of the Republic of Florence, who was virtually imprisoned and crippled in his freedom by those victorious forces which had crushed the Republic of Florence. He remained such a republican throughout the remainder of his life, and earned the respect, as by all the best professional officer cadres of the modern world, until the period of the Vietnam war, a Machiavelli who has been one of the founders of modern strategy, always emphasizing the republican cause in seeking arts for dealing with the pestilence of oligarchy and oligarchism polluting all of Europe during his own part of the 1492-1648 religious warfare.

Simply said, the oligarchical parties of Europe feared the infectious power of competence expressed by Machiavelli’s mind, and hated him on that account. Chiefly, the oligarchically inclined powers of the modern world, then as now, especially the financial oligarchy, still fear nothing as much as the existence of the leaders in any nation who admire a constitution which converges on the intention of our own republican form of Federal Constitution.

The standpoint of our President Franklin Roosevelt, or Abraham Lincoln before him, is what the oligarchs of the world, including our Wall Street brigands and vaulted Bostonians, hate and fear with a brutishly mouth-frothing rage.

Such types as those still today, would also hate Machiavelli to the extent that they actually sensed the specific efficiency of his work.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

June 13, 2010 —

It's becoming increasingly clear that a number of finance world insiders are bracing for a near-term disaster of monumental proportions, unless a Glass-Steagall reorganization of the banks is implemented now. Among the voices for a breakup of the too-big-to-fail financial institutions are at least two regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents, a former International Monetary Fund chief economist, and New York University Stern School of Business Prof. Nuriel Roubini. One senior U.S. intelligence source confirmed this week that "there are significant numbers of people at the Fed, and even at the Treasury Department, who support a return to Glass-Steagall." He added that, if the ongoing House-Senate conference fails to produce a financial reform bill with real teeth, "the backlash could be overwhelming, and could be the driver for Glass-Steagall being implemented." He added that the Obama Administration, along with the top leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties are oblivious to the "French Revolution alert"

It would appear that some of the recent attacks on TBTF ("too big to fail") are driven by the expectation that Wall Street and London will prevail on the House-Senate conference, and kill the Blanche Lincoln derivatives segment, and block any serious inclusion of Glass-Steagall. On a deeper level, some of these economists are bracing for another major financial blowout, very soon. This was the explicit message in two articles by former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson, circulated by Roubini Global Economics. On June 7, Johnson gave an extensive account of a June 3 speech by Richard Fisher, the President of the Dallas Fed, at the SW Graduate School of Banking, in which he declared that the TBTFs had to be broken up, and that no amount of regulation would work.

Fisher told the audience, "Regulators have, for the most part, tiptoed around these larger institutions [big banks]. Despite the damage they did, failing big banks were allowed to lumber on, with government support. It should come as no surprise that the industry is unfortunately evolving toward larger and larger bank size with financial resources concentrated in fewer and fewer hands... As a result of public policy, big banks have become indestructible. Big banks that took on high risks and generated unsustainable losses received a public benefit: TBTF ['too big to fail'] support. As a result, more conservative banks were denied the market share that would have been theirs if mismanaged big banks had been allowed to go out of business. In essence, conservative banks faced publicly backed competition."

Fisher added, "The system has become slanted not only toward bigness but also high risk," further warning, "We know from intuition and experience that any financial institution deemed TBTF will not be allowed to fail in the traditional sense. When such an institution becomes troubled, its creditors are protected in the name of market stability. The TBTF problem is exacerbated if the central bank and regulators view wiping out big bank shareholders as too disruptive, extending this measure of protection to ordinary equity holders." Fisher's ultimate conclusion: The TBTFs must be busted up.

Making good on his word, Fisher, on June 10, wrote to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), endorsing her provision in the financial reform bill, prohibiting banks from engaging in proprietary trading in derivatives, and other similar activities. The Fisher letter was practically identical to the letter, sent the same day to Senator Lincoln, by Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig.

In a second June 10th document, also circulated by Roubini, Simon Johnson warned that Wall Street was out to kill the Lincoln derivatives regulation, and that President Obama and the White House team, led by Larry Summers, are totally in lockstep with the mega-banks. "We will learn a great deal in the coming weeks, not just about the future stability of our financial system, but also for what President Obama really stands."

Nouriel Roubini, in a May 18 interview with TruthOut, was even more direct: "My view is that if banks are too big to fail, using higher capital charges and an insolvency regime is not going to work. If they're too big to fail, they're just too big, and they should be broken up.

"If they're too big to fail, they're also becoming too big to be saved, too big to be bailed out, and too big to be managed. No CEO can monitor the activities of thousands of separate profit and loss statements, and the activities of thousands of different bankers and traders. So that's one dimension. We must be capable of going beyond the Volcker Rule, which is essentially Glass-Steagall-Lite. We need to go all the way and implement the kind of restrictions between commercial banking and investment banking that existed under Glass-Steagall."

Asked why he was critical of the Volcker Rule, Roubini explained, "The Volcker Rule goes in the right direction, but in my view, the model of the financial supermarket where within one institution you have commercial banking, investment banking, underwriting of securities, market-making and dealing, proprietary trading, hedge fund activity, private equity activity, asset management, insurance—this model has been a disaster. The institution becomes too big to fail and too big to manage.

"It also creates massive conflicts of interest. If you look at the cases against Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, leaving aside whether there was any fraud or illegal activity—that's for a court to decide—there is still a fundamental conflict of interest. These institutions are always on every side of every deal. That's an inherent conflict of interest that cannot be addressed with Chinese walls [internal company barriers between different aspects of its business]."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Collapse of the Eurozone is On

April 28, 2010


—With the chaos they have unleashed in their attempt to force through a so-called Greek rescue package, the British have pushed the Eurozone into a terminal collapse.

Interest on two-year Greek treasury bonds shot up 3 percentage points Monday to 13%, and yesterday another 2 percentage points to 15%. These are highest rates for short-term bonds in the world, according to Brown Brothers Harriman as reported in the Financial Times. "Contagion" is now spreading, with Portuguese two-year bond yields having shot up from 3.051% to 3.985%. The FT article has graphs underneath the article to show the rise of Greek bond yields, the Portugese bond yields, and the Euro-dollar rate — not set in years, months or days but set in hours over the course of Monday, as if it were Weimar Germany, 1923.

The system can't stand this sort of wrenching strain. The present Eurozone crisis has justly been compared to the Kreditanstalt collapse of 1931, in its unleashing a next yawning gulf of collapse in the trans-Atlantic system.

It is clear that the issue is not whether the deal will go through, but that even if it does go through, it will not solve the problem, since Portugal, Ireland, and above all, the main act, Spain and Britain, are waiting in the wings.

Bloomberg reports that credit default swaps for Portugal's sovereign debt are trading at rates worse than those for Lebanon and Guatemala. While Portugal's public debt is 77% of GDP, its private debt is 236%. This compares with 205% in Italy, and 195% in Greece. Only 17% of its public debt is held by Portuguese; the rest is held by foreigners, a huge amount. The country also has had virtually no growth in the past 10 years and has no prospect for growth in the future.

Bloomberg also reports that not only are credit default swaps for Portugal, Spain, and Ireland increasing, but the crisis is having a spillover effect on the commercial bond market where CDS rates are also rising.

In an effort to convince the Bundestag to fork over EU8.5 billion for the EU45 billion cement-shoe "rescue" package, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn and European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet have been asked to address the Bundestag tomorrow.

Word Spreads of Obama's Demise

April 27, 2010

On Sunday, April 25, Firedoglake.com ran a headline story entitled, "The Corruption Scandal That Could Bring Obama Down: Redacted Supoena Portions Reveal Much." After reprinting the unredacted information originally posted on Chicago's NBC affiliate station from the motion submitted by Rod Blagojevich requesting the ability to subpoena Barack Obama in his upcoming June 3 trial, Firedoglake concludes that Obama may not have been clever enough to have avoided being caught in illegal acts. Therefore, "when the GOP retakes the House and reclaims more Senate seats, count on the party to use this as its justification for impeaching and removing Obama." Firedoglake.com clearly underestimates the rapidity with which Obama could be overwhelmed by the accumulating scandals surrounding his presidency, but the posting is a recognition of the danger Obama is now in.

As the trial approaches, one notable point made in the Blagojevich submission, which was not redacted, therefore, has not received media coverage, is the fact that according to an article in Britain's Daily Telegraph by Toby Harnden on December 26, 2008, Obama was interviewed at his Chicago transition office by two U.S. Attorneys and two FBI agents for two hours on the prior Thursday.

The Blagojevich motion notes that on December 19, 2009, the defense filed a discovery motion requesting all notes, transcripts and reports generated from the government's interview of Obama. As of last week the defense has not received any notes, transcripts or reports from President Obama's interview with the government.

Others interviewed by the government were Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett, whom Emanuel had said was Obama's preferred candidate. At the time, Harnden reported that Emanuel was known to have spoken to Blagojevich once or twice, and to his chief of staff John Harris at least four times about the vacant Senate seat. During his impeachment proceedings before the Illinois Senate last year, Blagojevich had failed in his attempt to subpoena both Emanuel and Jarrett. According to the Chicago Tribune at the time the scandal emerged, Emanuel relayed to Blagojevich's team a list of candidates who would be acceptable to the Obama camp, and that these conversations were captured on a tape possessed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

The question is what did Obama and his associates say in their interviews, and what does Fitzgerald have on tape?

Among other things, does Fitzgerald have a tape of the telephone discussion between Obama and Blagojevich of Dec. 1, 2008. Just one week later — on the day Blagojevich was indicted — Obama told reporters flatly, "I had no contact with the governor or his office, and so we were not — I was not aware of what was happening." Obama was interviewed by the FBI some two weeks later. Did he perjure himself by repeating this claim to the FBI?

Although Obama would like to portray his relationship to Blagojevich as distant, the fact of the matter is that Blagojevich, Emanuel, Rezko and Obama have had a very close relationship. Emanuel ran for the seat in Congress vacated by Blagojevich. Ryan Lizza reported in the New Yorker that Obama received "his first high-level experience in a statewide campaign" while advising Blagojevich during this campaign for Governor. Rahm Emanuel was also a top strategist for that campaign. According Lizza: "Rahm Emanuel ... told me that he, Obama, David Wilhelm, who was Blagojevich's campaign co-chair, and another Blagojevich aide were the top strategists of Blagojevich's victory. He and Obama participated in a small group that met weekly when Rod was running for governor, Emanuel said. 'We basically laid out the general election, Barack and I and these two.' A spokesman for Blagojevich confirmed Emanuel's account, although David Wilhelm, who now works for Obama, said that Emanuel had overstated Obama's role. 'There was an advisory council that was inclusive of Rahm and Barack but not limited to them,' Wilhelm said."

Monday, March 1, 2010

How Obama’s Health Care “Reform” Kills Health Care by Shamus Cooke

It’s difficult to understand a subject when those explaining it are motivated not by truth, but profit. In the case of health care, both Democrats and Republicans have huge financial incentives to obscure, mislead, or lie. Instead of common sense and honesty directing the debate, bags of money facilitate the conversation, funneled in from the health care industry via lobbyists into Congressmen’s pockets. This is the real reason that Obama’s “health care summit” was full of free-market jargon, staged debate and fake rage.


The majority of working people in this country are completely alienated from this nonsense, and are growing progressively hostile to the lies of both parties and their respective media mouthpieces. Polls continue to show rising opposition to the Democrats’ health care shenanigans, while showing no upgrade in status for the Republicans.


The ability for millions of people to see through the muddle in Washington points to a larger distrust of the two-party system. Even as “progressive Democrats” and other liberal pundits bow before the health care industry by urging passage of “an imperfect” health care bill, workers, the poor and the elderly aren’t taking the bait.

And why should they? The Democrats want millions of uninsured people to be mandated into buying crappy health insurance from the most hated companies in existence, where co-pays, premiums and other fees will prevent millions from benefiting from their new, shoddy health care. This individual mandate is reason enough to solidly reject Obama’s health care scheme, but it’s just the beginning.

The Democrats don’t like to talk about how their health care vision slashes Medicare. The New York Times explains in detail how Obama’s new plan attacks Medicare; here are some examples:

“President Obama’s budget would make a down payment toward his goal of covering the uninsured, and he would pay for it in part by cutting federal payments [Medicare] to hospitals, insurance companies and drug companies.”

Later, the article reads: “Mr. Obama said he would save $176 billion over 10 years by cutting Medicare payments to health insurance companies that provide comprehensive care to more than 10 million of the 44 million Medicare beneficiaries.”


And: “Mr. Obama also proposed squeezing $37 billion out of the [Medicare] payments to home health agencies over the next decade.” (February 26, 2010).


The article fails to connect these blandly stated numbers with the gigantic human suffering that will result. All that seems to matter is that the “uninsured will be [poorly] insured,” not that those currently receiving quality services will have their health care stripped from them.


Equally disastrous is the bi-partisan consensus over health care rationing. The Democrats plan aims to save billions of dollars by simply providing less health care. In fact, rationing health care is the philosophical backbone of the Democrats’ plan, which amounts to boosting the profits of health care corporations by allowing them to provide less service.


In Obama’s recently released plan, a large section is entitled “policies to crack down on waste, fraud and abuse.” The mainstream media and both political parties have made it abundantly clear that “waste” means “excessive tests and procedures that doctors routinely perform.” In essence, this means that the “new normal” for health care will be less tests and less procedures for those mandated to pay for corporate health care. Of course these measures will continue to be performed for those who can afford more expensive plans.


Contrary to the foolish accusations of the Republicans, the Democrats health care bill does not represent “the government takeover of health care,” but the corporate takeover. The fact that this corporate coup is being conducted through the hands of government only proves that both political parties are wholly owned by the corporations.


Federally run Medicare and state run Medicaid are being slashed, pushing soon-to-be mandated people into the corporate sphere, where services will be cut to push up profits.


Another way that the corporate takeover of health care will be achieved is through the tax on so called “Cadillac health care plans.” Employers will be taxed for offering their workers quality health care after a certain threshold; the worse the health care offered, the lower the tax. Labor unions correctly interpreted the tax to be an attack on their health care plans, since union workers typically have better health care plans than the unorganized.

Sadly, many labor leaders agreed not to fight this tax after Obama “compromised” by raising the tax threshold and delaying its implementation until 2018. But to think that such a tax can be ignored until 2018 is a perilous delusion. Employers will use every contract negotiation until 2018 to attack health care plans, so that the plans are below the threshold by the time the tax kicks in. Those employers without a unionized workforce will simply drop their health care plans and force their workers into the treacherous waters of Obama’s health care mandate.


Both political parties love this idea. And despite the Republicans furious playacting, they are giddy that the Democrats have adopted long held conservative Republican beliefs about health care. This is what the Wall Street Journal said about the health care summit:

“To listen to President Obama and his closest Democratic allies, you'd think John McCain had won the election and their bill had been drafted by Paul Ryan, Tom Coburn and the scholars at the American Enterprise Institute [a rightwing think tank].” (February 26, 2010).

The above-described dynamics will drastically alter the health care landscape in the U.S. The high standards of health care embodied in Medicare and union plans are being undermined, setting a much lower standard nationally. Once these plans are killed, the corporate vultures will swoop in with their “individual mandate” to make billions of dollars, while the threshold for “quality care” will be lowered drastically with the mass rationing of health care.

Anyone interested in saving health care must fight the Democrats’ plans, while demanding that Medicare be extended to everyone. To ensure that Medicare is financially sound, taxes on the wealthy and corporations must be raised, while the health care monopoly corporations should be nationalized and run as public utilities.

These ideas can be made a reality only through the united and organized effort of the Labor Movement, retiree organizations, community groups and anyone else interested in saving and extending real health care in the U.S.

IDUS MARTIAS

Sotto voce, within the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. and around the country, political insiders, including top Democratic Party officials, are voicing the same conclusion: Barack Obama is a disaster, and if nothing is done, the United States is not going to survive. Some, among the muted chorus, are openly talking of the need for the President to be removed from office--by impeachment or resignation. Others fear the ``i'' word, but offer no comforting alternative to President Obama's speedy removal from office.

The first open fissures within the Obama White House team, itself, have now grabbed headlines, beginning with a Daily Beast online column two weeks ago by Leslie Gelb, the former President of the New York Council on Foreign Relations, longtime New York Times senior correspondent, and Carter Administration State Department policy director. Clearly speaking for the Democratic Party wing of the Eastern Liberal Establishment, Gelb demanded the immediate ouster of Rahm Emanuel, and the entire Chicago sycophant crew occupying the remaining West Wing offices.

Gelb's column was countered, a week later, by the Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who jumped to Emanuel's defense, while roasting Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs and, by implication, First Lady Michelle Obama. By Milbank's account, Emanuel's ruthless competence has been underminded, at every turn, by the Chicago incompetents, who treat President Obama like a cult god--a most dangerous relationship to cultivate with a man with a Narcissistic Complex to rival Emperor Nero. Emanuel would sell his soul to the Devil with no compunctions. But he demands Devilish competence.

There is good reason to believe that the Milbank account is accurate, and that Rahm Emanuel is not about to throw his reputation down the nearest toilet bowl, to remain in competition with the likes of Jarrett and Axelrod. Things are about to get very nasty in Obamaland, and none too soon.

The reality is that the American people have already delivered a devastating vote of no-confidence to President Obama at every opportunity, since the August recess town hall meeting explosions. This past week, students a the University of California at Berkley rioted over cuts of $2.5 billion in the bankrupt state's higher education budget. Young Americans, who delivered the 2008 election to Obama, have defected in droves, and are facing a no-future prospect with anger, that is now boiling over into rage. If you thought that the Spring 1968 Boomer generation campus explosions were serious business, wait to see what erupts this month--as students are hit with massive cutbacks, cancelled credit lines, and real unemployment and underemployment figures between 20-30 percent.

One very senior Democratic Party official openly declares that Obama has done more to destroy the United States in one year than Bush and Cheney were able to do in eight. Can there be a more stinging indictment?

So far, the pandemonium in the corridors of power is taking place in cloak rooms, and private watering holes, in whispered tones. Out on the street the same sentiments are being voiced - with pungency and force.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

They Want to Take Your Sovereignty Away

January 25, 2010 --

On Jan. 17, the London Daily Telegraph's star economics columnist Ambrose Evans Pritchard reported on current British imperial strategy for the world in the starkest terms: the final elimination of all national sovereignty. Pritchard, commenting on a European Central Bank draft document which rewrites the Europe Union treaty, reported that they are proposing "a new 'legal order' that transcends a 'largely obsolete concept of sovereignty' and imposes a 'permanent limitation' on the states' rights." Pritchard added that EU nations will be instructed to destroy their economies, and "if they fail to marshal public support for draconian austerity, they risk being cast into Icelandic oblivion."

Shortly after it appeared, the Daily Telegraph suppressed the Evans Pritchard article, pulling it from its web site altogether. What is involved is not some minor, journalistic scandal.

People were scared enough to force an Evans Pritchard piece to be suppressed, after it appeared. Evans Pritchard says the British policy is one of imperialism—no national sovereignty. There is no sovereignty of nations anymore. And what he said is the truth, and that's the issue they don't want discussed. So therefore, in that case, don't be na├»ve, don't play by the so-called rules. Recognize what they are afraid of, and give them their worst nightmare.

They don't want to talk about this article? Well, we want to talk about this article. Why did you guys suppress this article? What wrong with it? He's right. There is no sovereignty left in Europe. And that is exactly what they intend for the United States as well, and for the rest of the world.

There's a drive in the United States to create a congressional commission on "deficit reduction"—i.e. to implement austerity by cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other entitlements, especially for the elderly. If they take away your sovereignty, and give the authority to a commission which is outside the process of formal legislation, and you buy it, there's nothing you can do to stop them.

Those who are promoting such policies "are committing treason," They are proposing to destroy the sovereignty of the United States, and to subject the U.S. to an international system which is an international empire, which is a new British Empire. All these fellows who support this stuff are obscenely attracted to the British Empire, which has already destroyed the sovereignty of the nations of Europe. If you do this, we don't have any sovereignty. And if you're doing this despite these facts, you are in fact committing treason, and at least most Americans will see it as such

The issue of the reappointment of Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve, is another such illustrative case of the drive to wipe out U.S. sovereignty. If you want to stop the Bernanke reappointment then you've got to scare the bastards. The way you scare the bastards, is you appeal to the voters, you appeal to the constituency on the fact that they are taking their sovereignty away. If they take their sovereignty away, they haven't got a chance.

That constituency is now in motion in a mass strike process which was most recently expressed in the Massachusetts senatorial election results . You've got to realize that we have done something, in the political process, which was demonstrated again more clearly in Massachusetts. That development in Massachusetts is the reality, not the breaking news developments as such.

We should be warned against being distracted by "issues" which the enemy puts before our noses, and thereby lose the real war. "People make the characteristic mistake of assuming that the current news is what you have to respond to, in order to be 'credible.' I know that to be 'credible' you have to take the enemy by surprise and hit him precisely on the issue they don't wish to talk about. The issue is: what is the solution? What's the solution, not what's the issue. Fighting against the issue is the loser's game. You fight for the solution, not against the bad news. We've reached a point where we cannot afford to make this mistake, because we're in a point where we can win this fight, if we don't get sucked into changing the subject. So don't play populist dumb games. It's how the enemy wins. It's the same way that people lose wars all the time."

"You have got to understand emotionally, as well as intellectually acknowledging things, that you are talking about the extinction of civilization as we have known it. And this is coming up now."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Flight 253: Anatomy of a Cover-Up

New revelations about the failed Christmas Day attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 continue to emerge as does evidence of a systematic cover-up.

With the White House in crisis mode since the attempted bombing, President Obama met for two hours January 5 with top security and intelligence officials. Obama said that secret state agencies "had sufficient information to uncover the terror plot ... but that intelligence officials had 'failed to connect those dots'," The New York Times reports.

The latest iteration of the "dot theory" floated by the President, aided and abetted by a compliant media, claims "this was not a failure to collect intelligence" but rather, "a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had."

"Mr. Obama's stark assessment that the government failed to properly analyze and integrate intelligence served as a sharp rebuke of the country's intelligence agencies," declared the Times uncritically.

While the President's remarks may have offered a "sharp [rhetorical] rebuke," Obama's statement suggests that no one will be held accountable. Indeed, the President "was standing by his top national security advisers, including those whose agencies failed to communicate with one another."

While the President may be "standing by" his national security advisers, the question is, are the denizens of America's secret state standing by him? One well-connected Washington insider, MSNBC pundit Richard Wolffe, isn't so sure.

Wolffe, the author of a flattering portrait of Obama, Renegade: The Making of a President, when asked on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann January 4 what is the White House "focus here right now?" Wolffe's startling reply: "Is this conspiracy or cock up? It seems that the president is leaning very much towards thinking this was a systemic failure by individuals who maybe had an alternative agenda." (emphasis added)

"I will accept that intelligence by its nature is imperfect" the President said, "but it is increasingly clear that intelligence was not fully analyzed or fully leveraged."

The question is why? And more pertinently from a parapolitical perspective, what "alternative agenda" is playing out here that would put the lives of nearly 300 air passengers at risk?

British Evidence: Down the Memory Hole

As Antifascist Calling reported last week, The Sunday Times and The Observer newspapers disclosed that MI5 had built a dossier on Abdulmutallab which showed "his repeated contacts with MI5 targets who were subject to phone taps, email intercepts and other forms of surveillance."

It has since emerged, the Associated Press reported January 4, that British authorities began assembling a security file on Abdulmutallab shortly after his arrival the UK in 2005 when officials claimed he was in contact with "known radicals."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's spokesperson Simon Lewis said on Monday, "Clearly there was security information about this individual's activities, and that was information that was shared with the U.S. authorities. That is the key point."

In an climb-down from Lewis's admission, The Wall Street Journal reported that Home Secretary Alan Johnson, whose brief includes MI5, said in an appearance before Parliament Tuesday, "Whilst we did provide information to the U.S., according to standard operational practices, linked to the wider aspect of this case, none of the information we held or shared indicated that Abdulmutallab was about to attempt a terrorist attack against the U.S."

The Brown government has steadfastly refused to say just when the file on Abdulmutallab was passed to the U.S., letting stand the implication it was sent before the aborted Christmas Day attack.

The cover story being floated by MI5 now mendaciously claims the agency did not send Abdulmutallab's security dossier on to American officials "because of concerns about breaching his human rights and privacy," The Sunday Times reported January 10.

"MI5 has privately conceded that as early as 2006 its surveillance operations had picked up 'multiple communications' between the 23-year-old Nigerian student and suspected terrorists in Britain," The Sunday Times disclosed.

Despite these concessions, we're now to accept at face value the absurd claim that information on a terrorist suspect wasn't passed along by British spooks to their closest ally "because of guidance from [MI5's] legal department."

Trying selling that fairy tale to Republican victims of the secret state's "human rights and privacy" campaign in Northern Ireland as The Sunday Herald revealed during their multiyear investigation into Britain's dirty war!

Under intense pressure by the United States about these disclosures, the Brown government has gone to great lengths to stress "the importance to Britain of close intelligence cooperation with the United States."

Still reeling however, from U.S. threats to cut-off intelligence sharing last summer if torture evidence was disclosed to the public by the British High Court, the government is moving to avoid a similar controversy over the Abdulmutallab affair.

In late July, The Guardian revealed that "Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, personally intervened to suppress evidence of CIA collusion in the torture of a British resident, the high court heard today." The Guardian also reported that MI5 chief Jonathan Evans said in a speech in October that the "Security Service had been 'slow to detect the emerging pattern of US practice in the period after 9/11'."

While the torture files were eventually released in late October by a High Court order, it is certainly reasonable to ask: what other "U.S. practice(s)" are being suppressed today by the Brown government?

The Independent confirms this and states, "The Downing Street comments were reported to have angered the US government, but after talks with the White House, Mr Brown's spokesman tried to lower the diplomatic temperature. He said relations remained 'excellent' between the two countries."

As part of a new and improved sanitized narrative, the Home Office now claims that Abdulmutallab's transformation into an erstwhile suicide bomber began only after he left Britain. This, despite revelations by The Sunday Times last week, that he stoked MI5's interest precisely because of his repeated contacts with individuals "who were subject to phone taps, email intercepts and other forms of surveillance."

In a further development that can't please the British state, The Guardian reported January 7, that Yemen's Deputy Prime Minister for Defense and Security, Rashad al-Alimi, told a news conference that "information provided to us is that Umar Farouk joined al-Qaida in London."

The Wall Street Journal reports that al-Alimi said Thursday, that Abdulmutallab had "no links" to al-Qaeda "when he first came to Yemen in 2004 and 2005 to study Arabic" and that he "was radicalized during his time in the U.K., where he had studied between his two stints in Yemen," charges that "senior British counterterrorism officials" dismiss, claiming "there was no evidence to back them up."

Why then, would Abdulmutallab's web browsing habits, cell phone conversations as well as "other forms of surveillance" on "targets of interest" to British spooks indicate a "lack of evidence"? It would seem to suggest just the opposite.

Indeed, Abdulmutallab had been in "close contact" with "a key suspect in an Al-Qaeda plot to murder British citizens," according to MP Patrick Mercer, the chairman of the parliamentary counter-terrorism committee. Mercer told The Sunday Times January 10, that the alleged airline bomber "had been in touch" with the suspect, currently a resident in a high-security British prison awaiting trial, "while both men were students in London."

Feeling the heat, Lewis has backtracked from his initial statement and now claims that information revealed Monday was simply a "routine exchange of information," and not specific warnings that "Abdulmutallab posed a terrorist threat."

This beggars belief. Indeed, the Brown government's climb-down is clearly intended to "disappear" inconvenient evidence from the official record, thus suppressing the actual content of MI5's security dossier on Abdulmutallab, and will only heighten suspicions that a transatlantic cover-up of the affair is in full-swing.

A Failure to "Integrate and Understand," or a Thin Tissue of Lies

Making the rounds of the Sunday talk shows last week, John O. Brennan, President Obama's top counterterrorism advisor, claimed that U.S. intelligence officials "had snippets of information" about the suspected bomber but "we didn't have any type of information that really allowed us to identify Mr. Abdulmutallab."

The Washington Post reported January 4 that Brennan mendaciously claimed, "We may have had a partial name. We might have had an indication of a Nigerian. But there was nothing that brought it all together."

Indeed, the 25-year CIA veteran and former CEO of The Analysis Corporation, the firm which built and maintained bloated watchlists for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's National Counterterrorist Center, went so far as to cheekily proclaim "there is no smoking gun piece of intelligence out there that said he was a terrorist, he was going to carry out this attack against this aircraft," or that America's multibillion counterterrorist apparatus only had "bits and pieces of information."

Let's take a look at those informational "snippets" and summarize what is quickly emerging as growing evidence of U.S. foreknowledge of an imminent attack on an American passenger plane:

* May: the British government withdrew its student visa for Abdulmutallab, a graduate of the prestigious University College London and placed him on a watchlist, barring his entry into the UK. MI5, and presumably their MI6 military intelligence colleagues in Yemen, compiled a dossier on the would-be bomber, citing his "political involvement" with "extremist networks" that have enjoyed on-again, off-again ties with NATO military intelligence organizations across the decades. This information, as Brown government spokesperson Simon Lewis, who let the cat out of the proverbial bag, was shared with their American counterparts.

* August: U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and NSA, intercepted cell- and satellite phone traffic which revealed that a Yemeni affiliate of the Afghan-Arab database of disposable Western intelligence assets, also known as al-Qaeda, were finalizing preparations for an operation that would utilize a "Nigerian."

* October: Newsweek revealed in their January 11 issue, that the dodgy cleric, the American-born Anwar al-Awlaki, who communicated extensively with the disturbed Ft. Hood shooter, Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan, posted "a provocative message on his English-language Web site: 'COULD YEMEN BE THE NEXT SURPRISE OF THE SEASON?'" According to Newsweek, "Al-Awlaki seemed to hint at an upcoming attack that would make Yemen 'the single most important front of jihad in the world'." The Washington Post reported in 2008 that al-Awlaki had extensive contacts with 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Hani Hanjour and was suspected of having assisted the 9/11 plot. According to the Post, "three of the hijackers had spent time at his mosques in California and Falls Church." Despite, or possibly because, of these dubious connections "he was allowed to leave the country in 2002." According to the History Commons, it is only in 2008 that the U.S. government concludes that the shady imam "is linked to al-Qaeda attacks." However, Al-Awlaki's provenance as a new "terrorist mastermind" should be viewed with suspicion, given well-documented links known to have existed amongst the 9/11 hijackers and American, Saudi and Pakistani secret state agencies.

* October: the same month Al-Awlaki was hinting at a "surprise," Newsweek revealed that John O. Brennan "received an alarming briefing at the White House from Muhammad bin Nayef, Brennan's Saudi counterpart. Nayef had just survived an assassination attempt by a Qaeda operative using a novel method: the operative had flown in from the Saudi-Yemeni border region with a bomb hidden in his underwear. The Saudi was concerned because he 'didn't think [U.S. officials] were paying enough attention' to the growing threat." A familiar trope we've heard in the aftermath of other terrorist strikes.

* Early November: Newsweek published an exclusive report January 4, that two U.S. "intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security circulated a paper within the government last fall that examined in some detail the threats that bombs secreted in clothing--or inside someone's body cavities--might pose to aviation security." According to information leaked to the newsmagazine by anonymous "national-security officials," the report "was prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center in conjunction with Homeland Security and the CIA," and that "one principal point of discussion in the document was whether the detonation of a bomb hidden in clothing on an airliner would have a different explosive effect than the detonation of a bomb secreted in a body cavity under similar circumstances." (emphasis added) This chilling report, prepared in the wake of intelligence information provided U.S. security agencies by Saudi Arabia's counterterrorism czar, should raise provocative questions. No other media outlet however, has followed the trail.

* November 19: Abdulmutallab's father, a prominent Nigerian banker and former high state official, visits the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, telling State Department and CIA officials he believes his son is a threat. A cousin tells The New York Times that the father told U.S. officials, "Look at the texts he's sending. He's a security threat." Although Embassy personnel promise "to look into it," the cousin told the Times that "they didn't take him seriously."

* November 20: the CIA prepares and files a report on Abdulmutallab that is sent to agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia "but not disseminated to other intelligence agencies," unnamed "officials" tell the Times. Embassy staff also wrote and sent a cable known as a "Visa Viper," to the State Department and National Counterterrorism Center and a security file is opened on the suspect.

* December 9-24: Abdulmutallab travels to Ghana from Ethiopia and pays cash, $2,831 to be precise, for a ticket on a Northwest Airlines flight from Lagos through Amsterdam to Detroit, landing on Christmas Day. "It is now known" The Independent on Sunday reported January 10, "that the Ghanaian hotel he listed on his immigration form was not the one where he was actually staying." According to IoS, although the FBI "has officers on the ground in Ghana and believe it is likely the terrorist may well have had his final al-Qa'ida briefing, and supplied with equipment and explosives, there," no steps are taken to apprehend the suspect. "All this" IoS comments, "was more than a month after his father, a wealthy Nigerian banker, had met officials at the US embassy in Abuja to share concerns about his son."

* December 22: during a White House Situation Room briefing Newsweek reports that "a document presented to the president titled 'Key Homeland Threats' did not mention Yemen, according to a senior administration official."

* December 25: Abdulmutallab boards Flight 253 in Amsterdam with only a carry-on bag for his international flight; the would-be lap bomber holds a 2-year entry visa into the United States. As is standard procedure, the Department of Homeland Security is notified an hour prior to departure that he is a passenger on the plane.

* December 25: the Los Angeles Times disclosed January 7 that "U.S. border security officials learned of the alleged extremist links of the suspect in the Christmas Day jetliner bombing attempt as he was airborne from Amsterdam to Detroit and had decided to question him when he landed." Homeland Security officials "declined to discuss what information reached the U.S. border officials in Amsterdam on Christmas Day." Despite suspicions by Customs and Border Protection agents, who had accessed NCTC's TIDE database, the flight crew is not notified of Abdulmutallab's presence aboard the airliner and additional security precautions therefore, are not made.

Preliminary White House Review: Crafting the Cover-Up

In remarks January 7 announcing the White House's preliminary review of alleged "intelligence failures" responsible for the near detonation of a bomb aboard Flight 253, President Obama said that "America's first line of defense is timely, accurate intelligence that is shared, integrated, analyzed, and acted upon quickly and effectively."

Echoing remarks made Tuesday, Obama reiterated the trope that the secret state "failed to connect the dots in a way that would have prevented a known terrorist from boarding a plane for America."

In a maneuver to deflect public attention from the glaring similarities between the 9/11 provocation and the near-tragedy Christmas Day over Detroit, Obama claimed that "intelligence reforms" instituted under the previous regime had "largely achieved" the goal of generating said "timely intelligence."

Leaving aside overwhelming evidence that secret state agencies and a Pentagon data mining program had amassed terabytes of data on the 9/11 hijack team, including detailed profiles and intelligence dossiers, and that the Bush administration had been repeatedly warned by elements within their own counterterrorism agencies as well as their foreign counterparts in Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Morocco and Russia, in other words possessed "timely intelligence" that an attack was imminent, the "connect the dot" meme, as with 9/11, is handmaiden to today's transparent cover-up.

The President then alleged that despite knowledge of the "al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen," and that secret state agencies had amassed considerable information on Abdulmutallab's ostensible Yemeni confederates, and that "we knew they sought to strike the United States and that they were recruiting operatives to do so," as with 9/11, "the intelligence community did not aggressively follow up on and prioritize particular streams of intelligence related to a possible attack against the homeland."

The preliminary review released by the White House presents an even more damning indictment of these purported "intelligence failures."

According to the declassified version of the report, "The U.S. Government had sufficient information prior to the attempted December 25 attack to have potentially disrupted the AQAP [Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] plot--i.e., by identifying Mr. Abdulmutallab as a likely operative of AQAP and potentially preventing him from boarding flight 253."

The document further charges that "the Intelligence Community leadership did not increase analytic resources working on the full AQAP threat."

Despite evidence to the contrary, the administration claims that "the fundamental problems ... are different from those identified in the wake of the 9/11 attacks" and that "firmly entrenched patterns of bureaucratic behavior as well as the absence of a single component that fuses expertise, information technology (IT) networks, and datasets ... have now, 8 years later, largely been overcome."

However, as I documented last week in "The Strange Case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab," as with 9/11, a similar pattern of concealing information from relevant counterterrorism officials who might have intervened and rescinded the suspect's U.S. visa, and thus preventing him from boarding Flight 253, were replicated.

Indeed, the CIA's Nigerian station had prepared a dossier on Abdulmutallab that included biographical details and texts handed over by the family, an analysis of NSA electronic intercepts, reports from their own on-the-ground operatives in Yemen that were sent to the agency's Langley headquarters "but not disseminated to other intelligence agencies," as The New York Times revealed December 31.

The CIA says it is now taking steps to "improve" its handling of "terrorist-threat" information. Agency spokesperson, George Little told the media that CIA Director Leon Panetta specifically ordered the Company to implement several "new measures," including "formally disseminating information on suspected extremists and terrorists within 48 hours," expanding "name traces" and "reviewing information" on individuals from "countries of concern" to determine whether the Agency should recommend "changes in status on U.S. government watch lists."

One would have thought these were precisely the policies already implemented after the September 11, 2001 attacks! And yet, here we are eight years later and the CIA, perhaps more concerned with protecting their intelligence assets--a motley crew of killers and sociopathic riff-raff that include neofascists, mafia kingpins, drug traffickers and terrorists--from scrutiny by law enforcement officials, have to be ordered by the reputed head of their Agency to protect something as trivial as the lives of airline passengers, is stark commentary on the state of affairs in an allegedly democratic republic!

It cannot be ruled out that the CIA was interested in recruiting Abdulmutallab as an asset. After all, the Nigerian youth came from a prominent family, was a graduate of an up-scale British university and was well-versed in the close relationships amongst British and Yemeni Islamist networks. Indeed Abdulmutallab, like MI6's man during the Yugoslav destabilization campaign of the 1990s, the reputed 9/11 bag man, ISI asset and al-Qaeda leader, Omar Saeed Sheik, a graduate of the London School of Economics, would seem to fit the bill quite nicely.

On the face of it, however you care to slice it, the "connect the dots" conspiracy theory floated by the White House doesn't pass muster.

Two separate agencies, the CIA and NCTC, had all the information required to identify the would-be bomber and yet both, if we are to believe the official narrative, failed to do so. This despite the inconvenient fact that NCTC was stood up precisely as a central repository to collate, fuse and "connect" each seemingly minute piece of intelligence, the "dots," flowing into the U.S. security apparatus.

The White House cover story, accepted uncritically by the media, suggest that a mass of disparate data points--raw intelligence--when taken separately, is not incriminating in and of itself. However, after each fragment is subjected to the massive data mining and analytic capabilities of the U.S. Government which "fuse" these datasets into a coherent whole, only then will a dodgy pattern emerge.

In Abdulmutallab's case however, each seemingly innocuous piece of information on its own should have set alarm bells ringing. That this didn't happen Christmas Day cannot be explained away as either incompetence or "firmly entrenched patterns of bureaucratic behavior" but rather, by conscious action, or if you prefer, sinister inaction by factions within America's secret state.

Conclusion

As of this writing, it is not yet possible to provide a comprehensive answer as to why these events unfolded as they did. I am however, certain of one thing: the Obama administration, the security agencies presumably under its control and the corporate media, johnny-on-the-spot when it comes to covering-up imperialism's multitude of crimes, are lying to the American people.

There are however, several preliminary hypotheses which can be advanced, all of which raise further troubling questions worthy of additional investigation.

Were the Christmas Day events a pretext to expand the "War on Terror" into yet another strategic petroleum chokepoint as analyst F. William Engdahl suggests in an excellent piece published by Global Research?

Nor can we dismiss out of hand the analysis offered by the World Socialist Web Site that the failed Christmas Day airline plot was a maneuver by extreme right-wing elements deeply embedded in the U.S. National Security State "to destabilize and undermine the Obama administration." To this can be added Richard Wolffe's provocative statement that factions within the secret state may have had their own "alternative agenda," and thus failed to act.

Add to the mix, the systematic outsourcing of intelligence and security functions to a host of giant defense firms, outside of democratic control; in other words, rightist grifters who answer to shareholders and not the American people, and suddenly another piece of Wolffe's "alternative agenda" comes into sharp focus.

Chock-a-block with ex-CIA officers, NSA analysts, FBI agents and U.S. Special Forces veterans of America's dirty wars who now staff the privatized U.S. security complex, in other words well-paid mercenaries who know a thing or two on how to run a clandestine operation, and we just might have another plausible theory why a "dot" or two was ignored Christmas Day.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, his articles can be read on Dissident Voice, The Intelligence Daily, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website Wikileaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press.